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Scientists have come up with a new potential method for detecting dark matter

By Polycount ยท 34 replies
Jun 12, 2019
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  1. Dark matter is one of the most mysterious things in our universe -- though some of its effects are believed to be observable, it is incredibly difficult to detect, and we still don't even know what sort of particles it is composed of.

    "We still don't know what dark matter is," said UC David professor of physics John Terning. "The primary candidate for a long time was the WIMP, but it looks like that's almost completely ruled out."

    WIMP, for the unaware, stands for "Weakly Interacting Massive Particles," which is the substance that scientists have long assumed dark matter is made up of. As Terning points out, though, despite "years of effort," no experiment designed to detect the particle has proven successful; which seems to imply dark matter is composed of something else entirely.

    So, Terning and his partner Christopher Verhaaren have essentially gone back to the drawing board and adopted a different tactic. As Phys.org writes, an "alternative model" to WIMP is "dark electromagnetism," which includes "dark photons" and various other particle types.

    If dark matter is composed of these photons, they should theoretically interact with a "dark magnetic monopole." If so, Verhaaren and Terning believe they can detect these interactions by paying attention to any "[changes] of phase in [the monopole's] wave function." Apparently, the monopoles -- which are always passing through the universe and Earth itself -- could be examined when they reach our planet after being "excited" by the Sun.

    The full explanation is obviously quite technical, but if you're feeling up to it, you can read Verhaaren and Terning's full paper on their new theories for detecting dark matter right here.

    Permalink to story.

  2. ckm88

    ckm88 TS Addict Posts: 187   +135

    We'll never know. Some things in life are just never meant to be discovered. We're nothing in this universe.
    astralcyborg and Dimitrios like this.
  3. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,964   +2,295

    Well we did discover dark matter, we just don't know what it is yet. We can measure it's effects on the universe,it has nothing to do with what is meant to be discovered.
  4. ckm88

    ckm88 TS Addict Posts: 187   +135

    I meant to say understood. :)
  5. Tantor

    Tantor TS Enthusiast Posts: 47   +67

    Dark matter is a mathematical artifact. They 'needed' a gigantic invisible mass in order to make up for a problem with the mathematics. There is no compelling reason to believe Dark Matter exists at all.

    There are many examples of mathematical artifacts that have no corresponding manifestation in reality. Just because the math works doesn't mean it matches reality.

    Dark Matter is another one of these mathematical red herrings, like string theory, that will have wasted generations of mental energy. Most likely they'll pursue them for another generation then finally start looking for real answers.
  6. Dimitrios

    Dimitrios TS Guru Posts: 528   +393

    Our eyes and brain can only understand so much. I also think we were placed far far far away from other intelligent life for a reason.

    Go watch the torture and other sick acts on websites like bestgore, LiveLeak & thegudda and you will soon see how far back humans are from evolving.
  7. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,964   +2,295

    Well the reason that finding dark matter is so important is because of that artifact. Either it exists or everything we thought we knew about quantum mechanics and general realtivity is wrong. That is not a small issue, this isn't some statistical anomaly that can be accounted for by a margin of error.
    Silvernine, Lew Zealand and Godel like this.
  8. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 611   +299

    This will fail for the following reason; Dark matter/energy do not exist. There is another, simpler, explanation for the the observed behavior of the universe that inspires the search for such.
  9. Lew Zealand

    Lew Zealand TS Guru Posts: 834   +730

    Dark Matter is not a mathematical artifact. It a strict requirement to explain very simply observed phenomena in the universe. The easiest to understand is this:

    The planets in the solar system revolve around the sun in a mathematically precise manner, with the closer planets revolving faster and the farther planets revolving slower. The fact that we can send spacecraft to Pluto accurately is a testament to how precisely we understand these mathematics.

    However the same does not hold true for a rotating galaxy. The outer visible parts of galaxies are rotating too fast when compared to the inner parts, which can be most easily explained by the entire galaxy being contained within a pool of dark matter (densest at the center, just like the visible galaxy) which has a mass, and therefore gravity, but isn't visible to any of our current instruments. It's pretty easy to measure this dark matter gravitationally and the measurements are well correlated from galaxy to galaxy. This isn't the only evidence for dark matter, just the easiest example.

    There have been loads of theories about what dark matter is since it's discovery in the 1930s, and a lot of tests have been conducted which have done a great job of ruling out a lot of those theories. Of course many tests are continuing. MOND (MOdified Newtonian Dynamics) is a popular one among some people but it requires you to break one of the key tenets of science: that the fundamental rules which govern nature at one scale (the planets in my first example) do not apply or are changed at another scale (the galaxies in my second example). This type of special rule breaking is not how science works and a number of tests have not supported it, but it's not dead yet and a lot of people still like it.

    We'll see if Dark Electromagnetism goes this way or not.
    Silvernine and CloudCatcher like this.
  10. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 611   +299

    The theory of dark matter/energy most certainly IS a mathematical artifact. It is a theory only and not supported by observational evidence.
    JaredTheDragon likes this.
  11. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,964   +2,295

    You mean gravity?
  12. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 611   +299

    No. Actually, gravity is the reason the search for dark matter/energy exists. The universe is behaving as though it has much more mass than we can account for observationally. However, the search for "dark stuff" to explain that behavior ignores the rest of the equation related to that mystery, IE the continuing expansion and acceleration thereof the universe. Scientists are using General and Special relativity to look for the "dark stuff". They're only looking at one aspect of a bigger mystery expecting to find an answer that doesn't and can't exist because they're failing to see the bigger picture.
  13. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,964   +2,295

    Dark anything in science is just something we don't know what it is yet.
    Morris Minor and wiyosaya like this.
  14. ChrisH1

    ChrisH1 TS Addict Posts: 144   +67

    Dark matter is imho an astrophysical con job. It's the 'ether' of the 21st century. The outside bits of galaxies revolve faster than we expect, so there must be a 'pool' of matter we can't see.

    People propose it must be some kind of special, hard to detect esoteric matter with interesting properties that we can't see for some reason, but there's no particular need to suppose it's anything other than boring, plain old ordinary every-day matter that we can't see for some reason.
  15. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,205   +2,482

    That's the whole point of science, though.

    Newtonian mechanics worked well until we figured out that something was causing the orbit of Mercury to differ from that predicted by Newtonian mechanics. It took Einstein to figure that one out. You can argue that Einstein extended Newtonian mechanics, however, rather than replaced them. In some cases, though, relativity is required to give the most accurate answer so does that make relativity an extension of Newtonian mechanics or not?

    Would science really care if it had to throw out everything it currently thinks it knows? As I see it, Science, itself, would not care and would be really excited to have that happen; some scientists, OTOH, likely would disagree just as much as some scientists dismissed Einstein - at first.
    The thing is is that the mathematics disagrees with the observations unless we insert some chocolate fudge matter into the universe, however, no one knows just what that chocolate fudge matter is. That makes the chocolate fudge matter a postulate that is required to make the mathematics work. To me, that could mean at least one of two different things:
    1. The chocolate fudge matter exists and someone, someday will discover its true nature
    2. The mathematics, itself, is incorrect.
    It has been my experience that forcing something to work usually does not yield the best possible solution. Personally, I lean towards the mathematical artifact, and/or incomplete mathematics.

    From my experience, there are such mathematical artifacts depending on the mathematical methods used. Matrix algebra, AKA, Linear Algebra, yields artifacts that disappear when viewed from the standpoint of Clifford Algebra, AKA, Geometric Algebra. For instance, when expressed with Linear Algebra, there are four equations that are required for the famous Maxwell's equations. In Geometric Algebra, those four equations reduce to one. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geometric_algebra

    In addition, Linear Algebra and other mathematics require the use of "imaginary", I.e, complex numbers. In Geometric Algebra, imaginary numbers are real, that is, because of the rules of the mathematics, some values square to -1. http://web.mit.edu/tfhavel/www/IAP-02/lect4.pdf

    As I see it, science is not yet advanced enough to discover the real reason behind the discrepancy between the mathematics and the observations. I have no doubt that some day, it will happen. We have been studying it almost 100-years and we still do not understand it. Someday, we will.
    Silvernine and yRaz like this.
  16. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 611   +299

    Incorrect, anything in science that is unknown is called "unknown".
  17. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TechSpot Staff Posts: 695   +676

    Mmm... existentially fascinating fudge. *drool*
  18. dangh

    dangh TS Enthusiast Posts: 45   +62

    I bet long time ago someone said the same thing looking at lightning bolt, black death victims, sun and so on. Thankfully they were proven wrong and now we know lightning is not Gods punishment, bacteries and viruses exists, and sun is just a ball of gases.
    We might not get all answers in our lifespan, but we got recently confirmation on bozons which were only math model, gravity waves, and many more. Dark matter will be solved as well
  19. rub900

    rub900 TS Addict Posts: 121   +66

    There is no reason to argue with you. You are using code to talk about God. Which doesn't exist. So yaaa you believe in the cloud guy and I will believe in science.
  20. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TechSpot Staff Posts: 695   +676

    Hang on, first you said:

    Then your very next comment said:

    So there's nothing 'observational' except the observations that started this hunt?

    There seems to be a general assumption in a few posts in this thread that science is about proving oneself right, when the vast majority of it is actually about proving things wrong. The hunt for dark matter and what it is, is exciting precisely because it's an unknown. People are trying to come up with novel ideas then test them. It's a good thing when an idea is wrong, it means we're one less bad idea away from the truth.

    This too is quite bizarre. The last seven words of your post rather undermine everything previous to them. If it's matter that we can't see for some reason that's the "hard to detect" part, and I'd wager it's a pretty "interesting propert[y]". The amount of matter required to have anything like the gravitational effect ascribed to dark matter would most certainly be visible, or its effects would be.

    People are getting a bit flummoxed by the 'dark matter' label, even though currently that's a placeholder term. Us not knowing what constitutes 'dark matter' is a good thing, it's exciting!
    Silvernine likes this.
  21. bob333

    bob333 TS Enthusiast Posts: 72   +33

    Hey!! that second picture is actually my background picture since 3 years ago!
  22. Lew Zealand

    Lew Zealand TS Guru Posts: 834   +730

    You're conflating a lot different things here with sciencey-sounding words which are not explaining anything and in fact are science-free. Which is fine, that's an opinion, but is one that does not reflect any science that is currently being done. I suggest doing a lot more background reading of astrophysics literature and avoid the non-scientific postmodernism.

    Dark Matter and Dark Energy are different placeholders to explain different *observations* in the universe. Their basis is in simple observations which people then attempt to explain using current theories and math.

    Dark Matter is observed through its gravitational effects on galaxies and is mostly concentrated on a galaxy or galaxy cluster scale. It has been known since the 1930s but nobody has yet discovered the particle or any other physical basis for it. There are a lot of diverse experiments testing a lot of different hypotheses currently ongoing.

    Dark Energy is more of a straight placeholder which comes from observations in the late 1990s that the universe is not expanding at a constant rate, but instead at an accelerated rate. This means that the gravity of the universe as a whole is not enough to slow down and stop the expansion of the universe as a whole, and there is some force which continues to push everything farther apart as a faster speed. That force is called Dark Energy but there is little know about it other than that. It's a simple placeholder until someone can come up with decent experiments to test a hypothesis.

    These aren't math problems, they are observed phenomena for which people come up with reasonable hypotheses to test and then do the tests to see if their hypothesis is supported.
    Silvernine likes this.
  23. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 611   +299

    No I wasn't. That was an assumption, and not a very clever one. Let's leave religion out of this.
    Context is important. Re-read and try again.
    Hold that thought...
    Science is about finding fact and acquiring knowledge, not ego. A true scientist is just as happy to be proven wrong as they are to be proven right because in both cases knowledge is gained. However...
    ...one should be knowledgeable enough to rule out things that are unlikely due to the existence of conflicting knowledge.
    Reasonable hypotheses do not contradict observed information and existing knowledge.
  24. Lew Zealand

    Lew Zealand TS Guru Posts: 834   +730

    Yup. Aaaaaand......?

    Please state the hypothesis that contradicts which observed information and which existing knowledge.
  25. jpuroila

    jpuroila TS Enthusiast Posts: 80   +45

    Since we're talking about actual science here, theory means that it IS supported by observational evidence.
    JaredTheDragon likes this.

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