“Dubito ergo cogito; cogito ergo sum.”

(I doubt, therefore I think; I think therefore I am) -Rene Descartes


I always try to give you something beautiful completely unrelated to astronomy, physics, or cosmology for the weekend. So if I’m going to talk to you about dark matter, I figured I’d better go for a particularly beautiful song. For those of you who don’t know the voice of Regina Spektor, have a good listen, because I think she might be the best young vocalist out there today. Here’s her song,

Braille.
The first week of this past December was designated to be Dark Matter Awareness Week, which, as far as I know, made an unprecedented effort.

Led by Paolo Salucci, a collaboration of top scientists — but not large-scale structure cosmologists like me — put together a well-reasoned, coordinated programme to get the word out about dark matter. And they even include a statement as to why they think it’s important for anyone working in many areas of physics to be aware and informed about dark matter.

The distribution of matter in galaxies of different luminosities and Hubble types, as inferred from observations, plays an important role in cosmology, extragalactic astrophysics, astroparticle physics, as well as in a number of issues in high-energy astrophysics, galactic astronomy, star formation and evolution and general relativity. Notwithstanding the general successes of the LambdaCDM scenario in explaining the structure and evolution of the universe, there is a growing conviction that the structural properties of the dark and luminous components in galaxies hold important clues about the nature of dark matter and the processes that are responsible for galaxy formation. This initiative aims to be serious effort to communicate results from those scientists working in the field of galaxy structure, to those scientists engaged with the dark matter problem in astrophysics, astroparticle physics and cosmology.

So, here’s what they did.

They made a presentation (materials available for download here), complete with powerpoint slides, explanatory notes, and a couple of movies, and organized an effort to have the same talk given worldwide. The results?

This talk was given in over 140 places, spanning 46 countries. From Iceland to Australia, from Japan to South Africa, from Brazil to Canada.

That’s right. Working scientists, people who normally don’t do outreach, were encouraged to give this talk, and to spread this information all over the world. And it was a tremendous success.

Why is this important? Because the dark matter problem could have the next hints of its solution show up in many, many fields of physics, and if this awareness isn’t out there, people could throw away this vital data, and chalk it up to experimental error.

If you’re a serious (grad level or higher) student of this, or would like to be, check out the presentation and notes; there’s plenty of excellent information in there. And if not, I hope you can appreciate the effort to spread awareness of one of the most important unsolved problems out there! Either way, have a great weekend!

Comments

  1. #1 Alan L
    February 13, 2011

    I have ppt installed and windows 7.

    Is anyone else having trouble getting the presentation to actually work?

  2. #2 Doug
    February 14, 2011

    It’s 3AM and it’s dark — do you know where your matter is?

  3. #3 Dan Echegoyen
    February 14, 2011

    BLACK HOLES, EXPANSION, AND DARK ENERGY

    In the continuum of space and time, exists the dichotomy of matter and energy. All things exist as both matter and energy, but are experienced as one or the other.
    As energy, all things exist as wave patterns. Most wave patterns are interferences of simpler wave patterns. The simplest wave forms are those that do not interfere with other waves. These simplest wave forms hold their shape as they propagate. There are three such wave forms.
    The first such wave form is seen in three dimensions as the spherical expansion wave of a bomb blast, and in two dimensions as the circular wave of expansion on the water where a rock was tossed in. The second wave form is seen in three dimensions as the cone of sonic boom following an aircraft traveling faster than sound, and in two dimensions as the V-wake on the water where the boat is traveling faster than the water wave. The third wave form is seen in three dimensions as the propagation torus of a smoke ring and is seen in two dimensions as the double vortexes of an oar stroke on the water.
    The Torus is a particle of discrete exchange, from one point to another. The object exchanges position and momentum. While the spherical wave shows position, and the conic wave shows momentum, the torus shows both at the same time, and has a dynamic finite unbounded reality. The volumes of the cone, sphere, and torus are mathematically related as static objects.
    The Universe is a local density fluctuation. (a wave pulse) On this local density fluctuation wave, lesser wave forms may exist. All simple wave forms are also local density fluctuations, and as such are indeed universes in their own right, where other waves may exist.
    Consider the torus as a universe. Einstein said that gravity is indistinguishable from acceleration. There is both linear acceleration and angular acceleration. Although the torus as a whole travels in a straight line, every local point on the torus travels in a circle and experiences angular acceleration.
    The rubber sheet model of gravity and curved space translates directly to the propagating torus with angular acceleration. Acceleration is downward on the rubber sheet and outward on the torus. The tension field that separates the inside of the torus from the outside holds its shape as a simple two dimensional field of space and time just as the rubber sheet does.
    Experimentally verifiable is that a big fat slow smoke ring generated in a room with very still air will eventually possess a bulge that travels in a circle on the surface of the smoke ring. This bulge, being a gravitational depression, gathers more of the energy of the field toward itself. Finally the bulge gathers enough material to collapse the field and eject a new, smaller smoke ring out in the same direction as the first torus. This collapse is a black hole to the first torus, and a white hole to the second torus, where the axes of space and time in that second torus have reversed.
    While gravity tends to draw depressions together locally on a dynamic torus, even to the point of field collapse, other areas on a torus expand and contract globally as the torus propagates along without regard to local phenomenon on the surface. This is quintessence. The inertia of the torus to propagate is its dark energy. This is a two-dimensional example of the process that we experience in three dimensions.

    From structureofexistence.com by Dan Echegoyen 951-204-0201


    Dan Echegoyen
    author of StructureOfExistence.com
    (951) 204-0201

  4. #4 OKThen
    February 14, 2011

    Every scientist on the planet is probably more aware of the “dark matter hypothesis” to certain unexplained astronomical observations than to any other hypothetical explanations of that body of astronomical data.

    To be sure, a specific verified set of astronomical data can be descriptively name “dark matter observations”.

    But a descriptive name is not the same as a falsifiable theory; which may explain the need for a “dark matter” public relations campaign aimed at other scientists.

    Which Oops!! Ethan heard about 2 months after the fact!!

    The best that can be said about “dark matter observations” is that scientists are still looking for an explanation of the data.

    The worst that can be said about “dark matter observations” is that the “dark matter theorists” will pummel or ignor any “non-dark matter theory” explanation.

    Hence, the ignoring of Fred I. Copperstock’s General Relativitic calculations showing that “”Einstein’s general theory of relativity, could account for the observed flat galactic rotation curves without the requirement for vast stores of mysterious dark matter.”… “Indeed for the most part, astronomers continue to ignore general relativity in making deductions from their observations. Thus, an industry has arisen of massive computer simulations with billions of conjectured dark matter particles. The claim has been made that these simulations confirm that the CDM (cold dark matter) model of structure formation is in accord with observed structures in galaxy surveys such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. However, the basis for these simulations is Newtonian gravity. The lesson from our work is that the best theory of gravity, general relativity, is capable of providing surprises.”

  5. #5 film izle
    February 15, 2011

    I mean, really?? I’m a scientist, and just reading that even made *my* eyes glaze over. If one thing they’re trying to convey is the importance and relevance of the scientist’s research to GQ readers, what percentage of the readers are really going to walk away with a deeper understanding of what Dr. Jamieson does by reading that description? It would have been a small thing to ask each participant to submit a layman-friendly version of their research (their “elevator talk” description, for example) for GQ to include.

    Finally–one of the “scientists” is Dr. Oz. What is he doing in there? One, I would think he’s already well-known enough; why not save that spot for another scientist? Two, yes, I know he’s actually done research and published, and is on the faculty at Columbia. Fantastic. He’s also a serious woo peddler, who has even featured everyone’s favorite “alternative” doc, Joseph Mercola, on his talk show, and discussed how vaccines may be playing a role in autism and allergies (despite mounds of evidence to the contrary). This seems to completely contradict their goal of “research funding as a national priority,” since Oz is often (and Mercola is always) highly critical of “mainstream medicine.” I really don’t understand his inclusion, and think it’s to the detriment of the rest of the campaign.

  6. #6 OKThen
    February 15, 2011

    film izle, Well said.

    So, here is my unsolicited “elevator talk”.

    “Dark matter theories” need to better understand “time”.

    Observed “time” is a “Delta time”, Dt. But the Dt time property is not just the + time forward Dt of classical physics and ordinary matter. There are three other distinct time properties observed in our physical universe. Metaphorically the 4 time properties are:

    + ordinary matter, moves forward in time, Delta time, Dt = +
    - antimatter, (as Feymann and Wheeler explain) moves backward in time, Dt = -
    0 black hole matter, e.g. event horizon of black hole, time is frozen at Dt = 0
    oo white hole matter, e.g. event horizon of visible universe, time is frozen at Dt = oo

    1) Dt = +, 0, oo matter interacts gravitationally. (- i.e antimatter does not)
    2) Dt = +. – matter interacts electromagnetically
    2a) Dt = 0, black hole matter, Dt = 0, does not interacts electromagnetically (i.e dark)
    2b) Dt = oo, white hole matter, does not interacts electromagnetically (i.e. dark).

    Q. Thus, does observed “dark matter” have Dt = 0 or Dt = oo time property?

    A. Miniature black holes (i.e. Dt = 0) have been ruled out. But white holes (i.e. Dt =oo) have been incorrectly considered. White hole refections are flawed by the incorrect classical assumptions about the quantum nature of time. Quantum mechanically, time is not a flat linear dimension from -oo to -0 to +0 to +oo. Quantum mechanically, “time is a 1-dimensional Moebius loop”; thus particles move (i.e. temporally translate back and forth along the Moebius loop, phase shift) from time properties Dt = +0 to +oo to -0 to -oo and wrapped back to 0+.

    Thus hypothesis: the “observed dark matter” may have the time property Dt = oo. And as well white holes are quantum mechanically spatially disperse like the far side of a double slit; not point singularities like general relativistic black holes which can be quantum mechanically thought of as the point source of a multiple black hole/white hole cosmic gravitational quantum slit. Yes, extra spatial dimensions are required.

    Ding, my elavator has reached the 11th dimension of space time.

  7. #7 Lloyd Hargrove
    February 17, 2011

    This stuff is not dark, it’s freaking invisible! The first suggestion here is to drop the misleading term “dark matter” and come up with something which is more accurate than implying it’s simply dark. Perhaps we should use something a little more catchy than simply calling it invisible matter or invisible mass which has never seemed to find favor for some reason.

    How about renaming it “ghost mass”? That sounds cool enough. But then that name might have some odd religious connotation with some people plus the “ghost of mass” has already been used to describe light at least once. So we don’t really know what it is, and we don’t really know what to call it? Welcome to the frontiers of science.