Dark Matter

Category archives for Dark Matter

“For the moment we might very well can them DUNNOS (for Dark Unknown Nonreflective Nondetectable Objects Somewhere).” -Bill Bryson The Sun makes up 99.8% the mass of our Solar System, yet stars account for only about 10-20% of the matter that protons, neutrons and electrons make up. Protons, neutrons and electrons — along with all…

“Eight solid light-years of lead…is the thickness of that metal in which you would need to encase yourself if you wanted to keep from being touched by neutrinos.” -Michael Chabon When it comes to dark matter, the most commonly considered candidates are WIMPs, or Weakly-Interacting Massive Particles. But with the failure of the LHC to…

“If you take everything we know… it only adds up to 5% of the Universe.” -Katie Freese One of the greatest advances of the 20th century was the discovery of the vast nature of the cosmos: that it was filled with billions of galaxies, each containing billions of stars, and that it extended in all…

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.” -Benjamin Franklin The history of science is rife with stories of cases where a person or team, usually with a lot of clout, reached a conclusion that seemed incontrovertible. When that occurs, we often find that subsequent measurements agree with that conclusion, even if that…

“When their eyes grew dim with looking at unrevealing dials and studying uneventful graphs, they could step outside their concrete cells and renew their dull spirits in communion with the giant mechanism they commanded, the silent, sensing instrument in which the smallest packets of energy, the smallest waves of matter, were detected in their headlong,…

“If you take a galaxy and try to make it bigger, it becomes a cluster of galaxies, not a galaxy. If you try to make it smaller than that, it seems to blow itself apart.” -Jeremiah P. Ostriker 13.8 billion years ago, the Universe as we know it was born with no stars, no clusters…

“Gamow was fantastic in his ideas. He was right, he was wrong. More often wrong than right. Always interesting; … and when his idea was not wrong it was not only right, it was new.” -Edward Teller Considering what we know about our Universe today, it’s hard to believe that just a century ago, Einstein’s…

“A dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than a giant himself.” -Robert Burton Both the internal motions of individual galaxies and the wholesale motions of galaxies within clusters require much more mass than normal matter — protons, neutrons and electrons — can account for: about five times as much. Because…

“Few enterprises of great labor or hazard would be undertaken if we had not the power of magnifying the advantages we expect from them.” -Samuel Johnson Dark matter may make up 27% of the Universe’s energy density, compared to just 5% of normal (atomic) matter, but in our Solar System, it’s notoriously sparse. In particular,…

“It may be that ultimately the search for dark matter will turn out to be the most expensive and largest null result experiment since the Michelson-Morley experiment, which failed to detect the ether.” -John Moffat Dark matter is a puzzle that’s now more than 80 years old: the presence of all the known, observable, detectable…