Dark energy and fundamental physics

  • P. Binétruy


The acceleration of the expansion of the Universe which has been identified in recent years has deep connections with some of the most central issues in fundamental physics. At present, the most plausible explanation is some form of vacuum energy. The puzzle of vacuum energy is a central question which lies at the interface between quantum theory and general relativity. Solving it will presumably require to construct a quantum theory of gravity and a correspondingly consistent picture of spacetime. To account for the acceleration of the expansion, one may also think of more dynamical forms of energy, what is known as dark energy, or modifications of gravity. In what follows, we review the vacuum energy problem as well as the basic models for dark energy or modification of gravity. We emphasize the conceptual aspects rather than the techniques involved. We also discuss the difficulties encountered in each approach. This review is intended for astrophysicists or physicists not specialized in particle physics, who are interested in apprehending the issues at stake in fundamental physics.


Dark energy Cosmological constant Vacuum energy Scalar field Universe expansion Acceleration Modification of gravity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AstroParticule et CosmologieUniversité Paris Diderot, CNRS, CEA, Observatoire de Paris and Sorbonne Paris CitéParis Cedex 13France

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