Thanu Padmanabhan, an Indian astrophysicist has won a 10-year-old dark energy research challenge. This was a wager settled with David Wiltshire, an astrophysicist from New Zealand. Padmanabhan was presented with a lamp which changes colour on the touch of a smartphone bought from the prize money. Padmanabhan is an astrophysicist and a distinguished professor at
the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) in Pune. The bet was made in the year 2006 when Padmanabhan delivered a lecture on the dark energy phenomenon at the 23rs Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics in Melbourne. It all began one fine day in 2006 when Padmanabhan was delivering a lecture on the phenomenon of dark energy at the 23rd Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics in Melbourne.
During the time, not all cosmologists were convinced about the role of the 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. The story appeared in Pune Mirror, where it said that the terms of the bet between the scientists was that if Wiltshire won, Padmanabhan will give him a clock which will help him track the lack of constancy of cosmological ideas and if Padmanabhan won the bet, his New Zealand counterpart will present him with a lamp so as to illuminate darkness of the universe’s
Padmanabhan believes that dark behaves like a fluid along with negative pressure. At the time of the Symposium, not every cosmologist was convinced about the cosmological constant’s role in the accelerated expansion of the universe. That is when professor Wiltshire of the University of Canterbury took up the bet which Padmanabhan offered to the astrophysics audience. Padmanabhan has even, along with his daughter, has calculated the numerical value of the cosmological constant.