Searching for signs of a force that may be everywhere . . . or nowhere
Ever since 1998, Robert Caldwell has been obsessed with something dark and repulsive. He spends nearly every waking moment trying to comprehend a mysterious entity that may be undermining gravity and pulling everything apart, making the universe expand at a faster and faster rate. This presumed force, sometimes called dark energy, might ultimately rip apart every object in the cosmos, from the tiniest of atoms to gargantuan clusters of galaxies (SN: 2/28/04, p. 132: Available to subscribers at Wrenching Findings: Homing in on dark energy). "It's both fascinating and terrifying," says Caldwell, a cosmologist at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.