Cosmology Intelligent Design Physics

Largest particle detector draws a blank on dark matter

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Hubble image captures what dark matter is supposed to be.

From Emily Conover at ScienceNews:

The largest particle detector of its kind has failed to turn up any hints of dark matter, despite searching for about a year.

Known as XENON1T, the experiment is designed to detect elusive dark matter particles, which are thought to make up most of the matter in the cosmos. Physicists don’t know what dark matter is. One of the most popular explanations is a particle called a WIMP, short for weakly interacting massive particle. More.

The researchers saw no collisions with atomic nuclei in 1300 kg of chilled xenon, which is depressing. But at least they are ruling out spaces where dark matter could be.

It’s frustrating because, at this point, researchers don’t know whether what they are looking for even exists. That was the fate of phlogiston and the ether. These substances had to exist, scientists reasoned, in order to account for phenomena in nature. The phenomena turned out to be explicable by other means but we would never know if some people had not endured a great deal of frustration first – somewhat like the hunt for dark matter today.

Some researchers are now looking for the even more mysterious axions.

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


Dark matter: Skeptics wanted

5 Replies to “Largest particle detector draws a blank on dark matter

  1. 1
    vmahuna says:

    If dark matter turns out to be false, what does this do to dark energy?

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    LHC is working magnificently to solve the problem it was designed for. By occasionally showing faint hopes of “results”, which seem to evaporate when examined closely, it always justifies massive budget increases. Problem solved.

    In a sane system this would be recognized as pseudoscience or quackery. It fits the definition precisely. We are not sane, so we continue to increase the budget.

  3. 3
    FourFaces says:

    Both dark matter and dark energy are mainstream crackpottery on steroids. Not unlike time travel and wormholes. Like searching for unicorns.

  4. 4
    Origenes says:

    wiki: The primary evidence for dark matter is that calculations show that many galaxies would fly apart instead of rotating, or would not have formed or move as they do, if they did not contain a large amount of unseen matter.

    If the behavior and formation of galaxies cannot be explained by (known) physical processes — if materialism also falls short explaining the inanimate physical universe —, then the rules of methodological naturalism gives science carte blanche to postulate undetectable “invisible matter” and use the shortcoming as “evidence”?

  5. 5
    PaV says:


    Was it Neptune or Uranus that was discovered because of perturbations seen in the orbits of the outer planets?

    IOW, this “dark matter” has real visual, and computable, effects. And it is pointing to something other than normal gravity. That much they know, but they haven’t found the “planet” yet, to use a metaphor. But it’s along those lines.

    If my musings are correct, physicists, when the find the true cause of ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy,’ which in my view are simply two manifestations of the same underlying principle, will have their methodological naturalism severely tested.

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