New Delhi: Indian theoretical physicist and cosmologist Thanu Padmanabhan has not only won hearts of international community of astrophysicists, but also a decade-long bet that he threw among his few researchers on the nature of dark matter.
Dark matter is an unidentified type of matter comprising approximately 27% of the mass and energy in the observable universe that is not accounted for by dark energy, baryonic matter (ordinary matter), and neutrinos, as per Wikipedia.
In 2006, while giving a lecture on the phenomenon of dark energy at the 23rd Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics in Melbourne, Padmanabhan had offered a bet to the audience that in the next ten years there will be no evidence to contradict the theory that dark energy is the root cause of accelerated expansion of the universe.
But during that time, not all cosmologists were convinced about the role of the dark matter (cosmological constant), and professor David Wiltshire of the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, took up a wager Padmanabhan offered to the astrophysics audience at the event.
On Thursday, Wiltshire announced at the CosPa2016 International conference that that he had conceded the wager to Indian physicist on the nature of the so-called "dark energy".
Padmanabhan has been honoured with a colour-changing lamp tha can be operated with a smartphone app along with prize money. It is said that the wager was valid till December 15, 2016.
The 13th International Symposium on Cosmology and Particle Astrophysics (CosPA 2016) is being hosted by the University of Sydney from November 28 to December 2, 2016 at the Sydney Nanoscience Hub, located on the University's Camperdown Campus.
The terms and conditions of the wager were that if Wiltshire won, he would be given a clock of his choice to help him keep better track of the lack of constancy of cosmological ideas. And, if Padmanabhan did, he would buy a lamp of his choice to help him better illuminate his calculations of the darkness of the universe.
Padmanabhan, whose research spans a wide variety of topics in Gravitation, Structure formation in the universe and Quantum Gravity, has published more than 260 papers and reviews in international journals and ten books in these areas.
He is currently a Distinguished Professor at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, (IUCAA) at Pune, India.