In 2007 Simon White (Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Germany) wrote a controversial paper (see arxiv.org/abs/0704.2291) titled “Fundamentalist Physics: Why Dark Energy Is Bad for Astronomy.” White argued that the pursuit of dark energy could fail to produce significant progress, while draining precious resources from traditional astronomical research. He also argued that dark energy is really a problem for particle physics, and astronomers and physicists represent two different cultures that use different methodologies to address scientific questions. “By uncritically adopting the values of an alien system,” he wrote, “astronomers risk undermining the foundations of their current success and endangering the future vitality of their field.”
Physicist Rocky Kolb (University of Chicago) countered with a paper (click here to download) arguing that the two disciplines are “bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken,” and that collaborations between astronomers and particle physicists have proved to be mutually beneficial in humanity’s quest to understand the origin and evolution of the universe.
Let us know what you think in the Comments box below.
Also, please check out the podcast interview with Richard Panek, author of "Going Over the Dark Side" in the February 2009 Sky & Telescope.