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What is the cosmological constant?

Question asked by: knowitall

The cosmological constant refers to an additional term that can be used in in Einstein's equations of general relativity. The constant physically represents the idea that there is a density and pressure associated with so-called "empty" space.

Einstein called it the greatest mistake of his career.

However in recent times it has been widely accepted to exist, and in fact has a very fine-tuned value to 120 decimal places - any change and the universe would be vastly different. This has led to the idea that there might be intelligence behind our universe. This has been refuted by recourse to multiverse theory (see the questions and answers on the multiverse for more information).

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