The Dark Energy Crisis, and the Prospect of Intellectual Stagnation

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I will describe the current state of our attempts to characterize the nature of the Dark Energy, the name given to the unknown phenomenology that is driving the observed accelerating cosmic expansion. There is a historical analogy between our current situation and the days of
confusion before the advent of quantum mechanics. But while quantum physics emerged in a single academic generation, I fear that our attaining a deeper understanding of Dark Energy may not be as rapid. I will outline some steps we can take to try to avoid an extended period of sophisticated confusion and intellectual stagnation.