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Hossenfelder: Could the problem with dark matter come down to using wrong equations?

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3D impression of dark matter via Hubble

From Sabine Hossenfelder, author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray: About the frustrating inability to confirm the existence of dark matter and dark energy:

So, we know that strictly speaking the equations we use are wrong. The big question is, then, just how wrong are they?

Nosy students who ask this question are usually told these equations are not very wrong and are good to use. The argument goes that the difference between the equation we use and the equation we should use is negligible because gravity is weak in all these cases.

But if you look at the literature somewhat closer, then this argument has been questioned. And these questions have been questioned. And the questioning questions have been questioned. And the debate has remained unsettled until today. …

Given how much brain-power physicists have spent on trying to figure out what dark matter and dark energy is, I think it would be a good idea to definitely settle the question whether it is anything at all. At the very least, I would sleep better.

Sabine Hossenfelder, “Dark matter nightmare: What if we are just using the wrong equations?” at BackRe(Action)

If it were all just a mistake, that would be enough to drive many frustrated physicists off the edge, no?

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.

Physicists devise test to find out if dark matter really exists

Largest particle detector draws a blank on dark matter

What if dark matter just doesn’t stick to the rules?

A proposed dark matter solution makes gravity an illusion


Proposed dark matter solution: “Gravity is not a fundamental governance of our universe, but a reaction to the makeup of a given environment.”

Researchers: Either dark energy or string theory is wrong. Or both are. But dark energy is so glitzy! Isn’t it a line of cosmetics already?

Researchers: The symmetrons needed to explain dark energy were not found

Rob Sheldon: Has dark energy finally been found? In pop science mags?

Are recent dark energy findings a blow for multiverse theory?


Science at sunset: Dark energy might make a multiverse hospitable to life… if it exists

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8 Replies to “Hossenfelder: Could the problem with dark matter come down to using wrong equations?

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Personally, I think dark matter is a quantum (you knew that was coming) manifestation of the Dark Side of The Force. The reason why it’s so hard to find is that when you look at it it immediately looks like the Light Side because of that furshlugginer Observer Effect,

  2. 2
    FourFaces says:

    Of course, the equations are wrong. But changing the equations is not physics. It’s no better than Ptolemaic epicycles. Math does not explain anything other than itself. We need to figure out the physical reason why the equations are wrong. But before we can do that, we need to fully grok simple things like motion. Ask any physicist, why does a particle in inertial motion stay in motion and they don’t have an answer. If we don’t understand something as fundamental as motion, how are we going to understand gravity?

  3. 3
    mpc755 says:

    Dark matter is a supersolid that fills ’empty’ space, strongly interacts with ordinary matter and is displaced by ordinary matter.

    The supersolid dark matter displaced by a galaxy pushes back, causing the stars in the outer arms of the galaxy to orbit the galactic center at the rate in which they do.

    Displaced dark matter is curved spacetime. More correctly, what is referred to geometrically as curved spacetime physically exists in nature as the state of displacement of the supersolid dark matter. The state of displacement of the supersolid dark matter is gravity.

    The supersolid dark matter displaced by the quarks the Earth consists of, pushing back and exerting pressure toward the Earth, is gravity.

  4. 4
    vmahuna says:

    “Dark matter is a supersolid that fills ’empty’ space”
    And so “dark matter” is different from “Aether” and more real HOW?
    If you think about it at all, the Michelson-Morley experiment failed to find a “current” in the Aether because Einstein said that the Speed of Light was/is a CONSTANT, and so OF COURSE the light rays moving “downstream” WITH the orbit of Earth had the SAME speed as the rays moving “across” the orbit.
    So, Michelson-Morley is WRONG, and OF COURSE “empty space” is filled with Aether.
    But more to the point, if Dark Matter is true, then it’s most likely what was called Aether in the 19th century.

  5. 5
    DerekDiMarco says:

    Uranus’s motion did not follow from the physics equations. They could have wasted years trying to modify the equations in some bizarre way. Instead they realized that if there was some as-yet-unseen mass in a certain place, the data would fit. That unseen mass is what we soon called Neptune.

    Dark Matter is similar. You can waste a billion cycles trying to modify the equations, or you can posit as-yet-undetected matter in a certain distribution. If you do that, the data fit.

  6. 6
    mpc755 says:

    ‘Michelson–Morley experiment – Wikipedia’

    > “The Michelson–Morley experiment was an attempt to detect the existence of aether, a supposed medium permeating space that was thought to be the carrier of light waves. The experiment was performed between April and July 1887 by Albert A. Michelson and Edward W. Morley at what is now Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and published in November of the same year. It compared the speed of light in perpendicular directions, in an attempt to detect the relative motion of matter through the stationary luminiferous aether (“aether wind”).”

    The Michelson-Morley Experiment provided evidence against the notion of a stationary aether, not the notion of the aether itself.

    ‘Michelson-Morley Experiment’

    > “”The interpretation of these results is that there is no displacement of the interference bands. … The result of the hypothesis of a stationary ether is thus shown to be incorrect.” (A. A. Michelson, Am. J. Sci, 122, 120 (1881))”

    The aether is not stationary. It is displaced by the particles of ordinary matter that exist in it and move through it.

    The Michelson-Morley experiment, and those like it, didn’t detect the aether because it is relativistic.

    ‘Robert B. Laughlin, Nobel Laureate in Physics, endowed chair in physics, Stanford University, had this to say:’

    > “the empty vacuum of space … is filled with ‘stuff’. … The modern concept of the vacuum of space, confirmed every day by experiment, is a relativistic ether.”

    A relativistic aether means its state determines the state of the ordinary matter that exists in it and moves through it, including the rate at which an atomic clock ticks.

    Einstein said there would be no propagation of light without it.

    ‘Einstein: Ether and Relativity’

    > “According to the general theory of relativity space without ether is unthinkable; for in such space there would be no propagation of light”

    Einstein also said the following:

    > “the state of the [ether] is at every place determined by connections with the matter and the state of the ether in neighbouring places”

    The state of the aether at every place determined by its connections with the ordinary matter and the state of the aether in neighboring places is the state of displacement of the aether.

    The supersolid aether displaced by the quarks the Earth consists of, pushing back and exerting pressure toward the Earth, is gravity.

    The supersolid aether displaced by a galaxy, pushing back and exerting pressure toward the galaxy, causes the stars in the outer arms of the galaxy to orbit the galactic center at the rate in which they do.

  7. 7
    SmartAZ says:

    The problem is that dark matter is fiction. According to wikipedia, it was invented in 1932 by Ian Oort to fudge his data to agree with his theory. They don’t find it in measurements, they assume it is there and then calculate where they need it to fudge the measurements to agree with their theory.

  8. 8
    John Bihl says:

    – [ ] Steeven Hawkin agreed until about 2004 that information gets lost during the evaporation of black holes, but the majority QM-fundamentalists who think QM holds everywhere changed his view. At the planck scale QM and perhaps also GR must be modified. 13,8 billion years ago dense radiation made mass – black holes evapurating turn mass into radiation. When no mass is left our universe has no clock to account for time and size – therefore radiation gets dense again and makes mass again, conformal cyclic cosmology. So if you insist that information is not lost in black holes, you must accept the sea of photons coming from the evaporation of Black holes is all the information about our Universe there then is. In this conformal cyclic cosmology, the photons, electricmagnetic radiation is fundamental in the univers: it makes particles with mass through the Higgs-particle, there is no beginning singularity, no inflation is needed.
    – [ ] When electricmagnetic radiation, photons, light is central for the Universe (in infinity in the past, now, and in the infinity in future) a theori of lightcones is important. Twister-theorie, which combine naturel and complexe numbers, is the most promising theorie for that. Potentially this theorie could in a sense unite relativity and quantum theorie – and it works with 3 spatial and 1 timedimension!
    – [ ] With the finding of the Higgs-particle in 2012, we do not need more central ingredients to the Standard Model to explain the main history of the Universe. Dark energy and dark matter can be explained with new/old insight to relativity – Relativistic mass causing gravity could explain why galaxies do not go apart (“Dark matter”) and how the tiny things (also photons travelling faster than particles with mass) in the vast “empty” space can cause the the “mass-part” of the Universe to expand (“Dark energy”).
    – [ ] The sad story of physics the last 40 years is that most of the resources are used on mainly string-theorie and inflation.
    – [ ] String-theori makes no predictions – can not be falsified – works only with 10 spatial and 1 timedimension – works only if the cosmological constant is negative and we messure it to be positive – there are so many versions of this theorie, some of them end up in multiverse, to me the end of science.
    – [ ] Inflation: so many papers have been written on this subject – can predict everything=nothing – can not be falsified – and it ends up in multiverse.
    – [ ] Could we not use some of the money spent on string-theorie and inflation to study other theories – among those a realistic quantum theorie.
    – [ ] Post scriptum:
    – [ ] Most scientists do not ask about the foundations of physics, they just use QM as a calculator – and yes its the best STATISTICAL method the last hundred years. But a scientist should not accept statistic to be fundamental. What would have been the situation today if De Broglie had got the majority at the meetings in 1927!?
    – [ ] Before Niels Bohr formulated his QM he was inspired by Kant and Goethe – we create the things when we messure – there is no objective reality. Thank you Sir Roger Penrose, Gerald ‘t Hooft, Lee Smolin, Paul Steinhardt and others for trying to oppose the mainstream ideas in physics: Inflation, string theorie and for making Nature naturel again, Einstein would have been happy that the Moon was there, also when he did not look!

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