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Surprising Science

Dark Matter

Physicists believe they have discovered “a ghostly sea of subatomic particles known as dark matter” at the bottom of an old iron mine in Minnesota.

“An international team of physicists working in the bottom of an old iron mine in Minnesota said Thursday that they might have registered the first faint hints of a ghostly sea of subatomic particles known as dark matter long thought to permeate the cosmos. The particles showed as two tiny pulses of heat deposited over the course of two years in chunks of germanium and silicon that had been cooled to a temperature near absolute zero. But, the scientists said, there was more than a 20 percent chance that the pulses were caused by fluctuations in the background radioactivity of their cavern, so the results were tantalizing, but not definitive. Gordon Kane, a physicist from the University of Michigan, called the results ‘inconclusive, sadly,’ adding, ‘It seems likely it is dark matter detection, but no proof.’ Dr. Kane said results from bigger and thus more sensitive experiments would be available in a couple of months.”


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