Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cosmocomics

NPR's excellent science reporter Richard Harris did a entertaining story today from the American Astronomical Society meeting in DC. It dealt with an effort by Brad Schaefer of LSU to use gamma-ray bursts as standard candles in order to determine whether the cosmological "constant" is really constant. This is a promising approach, but the systematics aren't well-understood. "Heavyweight" pundit Michael Turner was quoted:

"It's very intriguing," says Turner, "but I don't think it rises to the level of me being able to issue Schaefer a ticket to Sweden."

Schaefer presents details here.
More at Cosmic Variance, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.