Dark matter was first theorized a century ago and yet “ super-sensitive underground labs that can detect a particle just one-trillionth of one-trillionth of a square centimeter” haven’t found it. Some now think that the problem is that two different approaches to the search are in conflict:
There are two methods that physicists use to discover dark matter, and they differ greatly. Particle physics focuses on the small-scale world — the subatomic properties of matter — whereas astronomy focuses on the large-scale world — faraway areas of the universe that we can probe with telescopes and signal detectors. Naturally, they use different approaches.
“The language and tools we [physicists and astronomers] use tend to be quite different,” Peter, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy, says. “Particle physicists care a lot about defining the microphysical properties of dark matter, like what dark matter’s particle properties are. Astronomers focus on the macroscopic properties of dark matter, like how it’s distributed in the universe and how we can tell that it’s there.”
Taking two approaches isn’t inherently flawed, but given that researchers haven’t discovered definitive evidence for dark matter, Peter and her colleague Matthew Buckley, a theoretical physicist at Rutgers University, believe that uniting these fields of study could help guide researchers toward discovery.Tyler Krueger, “What’s keeping us from discovering dark matter?” at Astronomy.com
Dare one hope, at this point, for non-crackpot no-dark-matter solutions as a third, fallback position? A century is a long time.
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See also: Discover: Even the best dark matter theories are crumbling
Researcher: The search for dark matter has become a “quagmire of confirmation bias” So many research areas in science today are hitting hard barriers that it is reasonable to think that we are missing something.
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