Deep in an Australian Gold Mine, Dark Matter's Last Stand
If the current experiment doesn't yield positive results, scientists say they will be forced to go back to the drawing board about what makes up dark matter, i.e. 80 percent of the universe.
What's the Latest?
About 80 percent of all the mass in the universe is missing, or least we can't detect it with our scientific instruments. Strange, but true, at least according to our current conception of certain physical laws. Among other functions, this missing mass, which scientists have dubbed dark matter, is what keeps galaxies spiraling instead of being flung apart. So where is the missing stuff? Scientists are looking for it everywhere, including at the bottom of an Australian gold mine. At the bottom of a mine, they figure, all the cosmic rays shooting through the Earth will have been diffused, allowing their new class of instruments to pick up traces of the elusive dark matter.
What's the Big Idea?
The going theory is that dark matter is composed of "weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs, which should occasionally collide with ordinary atoms and create a telltale signal." That signal is what physicists hope to find in Australia. To date, only two instruments (of the many scientists have placed around the globe) have measured WIMPs directly. If the current experiment doesn't yield positive results, scientists say they will be forced to go back to the drawing board. Project leader Elisabetta Barberio of the University of Melbourne said: "If we don't see anything, those experiments [which failed to detect WIMPs] will be right."
Read more at New Scientist
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.
- Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
- The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
- Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, explains his plan for success.
- Jeff Bezos had a clear vision for Amazon.com from the start.
- He was inspired by a statistic he learned while working at a hedge fund: In the '90s, web usage was growing at 2,300% a year.
- Bezos explains why books, in particular, make for a perfect item to sell on the internet.
It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.
- Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
- A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
- The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.