Miguel Zumalacárregui knows what it feels like when theories die. In September 2017, he was at the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Saclay, near Paris, to speak at a meeting about dark energy and modified gravity. The official news had not yet broken about an epochal astronomical measurement—the detection, by gravitational wave detectors as well as many other telescopes, of a collision between two neutron stars—but a controversial tweet had lit a firestorm of rumor in the astronomical community, and excited researchers were discussing the discovery in hushed tones.


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