18 April, 2013

A To Z Challenge: Physics And Possible New Evidence Of Dark Matter

Physics is an enormous field concerned with the study of how things interact. It encompasses sound, light, heat, electricity, and just about any other physical phenomena you can think of. Physics also studies atoms and subatomic particles, as well as having some overlap with cosmology.

One recent development in physics is a couple of separate reports that scientists may be closer to figuring out  so-called "dark matter", that elusive component of the universe we haven't yet been able to detect for sure. But progress is being made: The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer attached to the International Space Station has detected positrons (the antimatter version of an atom's electrons) that might have been produced by dark matter interactions. Also, the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search in a mine in Minnesota has recorded three events involving supercool silicon wafers that could have been caused by dark matter particles, possibly supporting a supersymmetry theory involving "weakly interacting massive particles", known by the abbreviation WIMPs (got to hand it to physics sometimes when it comes to nicknaming things).

Obviously, three events is not enough to declare a discovery. Nor is detection of greater numbers of positrons than expected--but they're interesting glimpses of what could perhaps be one of the larger mysteries of the universe.

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Sources:
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/physics
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/Possible-Dark-Matter-Signal-201307331.html
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/Dark-Matter--203199671.html
http://www.space.com/20674-dark-matter-detection-wimps.html
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/shedding-light-on-the-search-for-dark-matter-0410.html
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/04/ams-dark-matter/

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Do you think scientists will discover dark matter for certain in the coming decades?


-----The Golden Eagle

28 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If dark matter consumes, then I have proof every time the dryer eats one of my socks.

Andrew Leon said...

I think I would like to try a silicon wafer. The girl scouts should make a cookie.

The Golden Eagle said...

Alex: LOL.

Funny thing--we actually haven't lost any socks in a while. Not such a good thing if they're evidence of dark matter!

The Golden Eagle said...

Andrew: I would totally buy that kind of wafer.

mshatch said...

Haha, I was just reading about WIMPS the other day for one of my posts. This field is quite exciting.

Spacerguy said...

When we figure out these "matter" mysteries, I want my own starship to explore the universe.

Cindy Dwyer said...

Gotta love "massive particles" beings named WIMPs. LOL!

M Pax said...

I just finished reading about neutrinos and the possibility of the secret of dark matter being found there. It's fascinating stuff.

Beth said...

I love physics. But the kind for dummies.

Rusty Webb said...

Physics overlaps with all the hard sciences. Because it's the most fundamental of all of them. Detecting WIMPs would be a huge step... Then folks could spend more time trying to figure out what in the heck they are, instead of whether or not they exist. Baby steps.

Pat Hatt said...

A lot could sure come due, be interesting to see what they find.

Jan Newman said...

I think physicists will discover dark matter. Higgs boson was a theoretical particle until recently. (And technically, I haven't read one scientist who's been quoted saying, "Oh, yeah, this is without doubt a Higgs boson.")

Liz said...

I do think they will eventually find what they are looking for, but I don't know if it'll be in the form they expect.

D.G. Hudson said...

I certainly hope they do discover the secret of dark matter. If it can power spaceships, the explorations can begin. Hubs says Helium-3 has a better chance of powering ships.

Krista McLaughlin said...

I have to agree with Alex's comment because my dryer does eat socks. :)

I think it would be very interesting. I've always had an interest in space; probably because I grew up watching Star Trek with my dad. :)

Sandy said...

First...wow wow wow, that picture sure makes me feel small. Space itself makes me feel small, and yes I think they will discover more; perhaps not in our lifetime. I've always thought there were "secrets" in the universe beyond us.

Adding you to my blog log to make visits back and forth easier.

A-Z

Paul Tobin said...

Fascinating stuff-I had not realised they were called it WIMPs-very funny.

Michael Di Gesu said...

I must admit, Golden, you make science sound so much more interesting than my teachers did in school.

Thanks.

I am finding an appreciation for science that I never really had before, and that is because of you....

Michael Offutt, S.F.A. said...

I sense that you are channeling Hawking through this post!

C. Lee McKenzie said...

It's hard to imagine all that we don't know about the universe(s).

Susan Kane said...

The Hubble has brought so much knowledge and interest to this part of physics.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I think they will though sometimes I can't even understand the explanations they give as proof.

Jagoda said...

I'm aware of people (though I don't know them personally) that consider quantum physics a new religion.
Jagoda

The Golden Eagle said...

Mshatch: It is!

Spacerguy: Can I hitch a ride? ;)

Cindy: I know, what a name.

Mary: Agreed!

Beth: It's all the same physics, though. Regardless of how anything is explained, the science is still there!

Rusty: Well, there are some mathematicians who might argue that point . . . though math isn't science.

Indeed!

Pat: I can't wait to follow physics in the following years!

Jan: Good point. But they have more significant weighing in favor of the Higgs boson.

Liz: I doubt it will be! The universe is always surprising scientists.

D.G.: It'll be interesting to see what kind of technologies emerge in the next few decades.

Krista: As a recent fan of Star Trek, I have to agree the series makes you want to explore space!

Sandy: Perhaps there are. But we'll never be able to find out without research like that propelling the search for WIMPs and so on.

Thanks for visiting and commenting my blog! :)

Paul: Yup. It's a great new acronym for the physics world.

Michael Di Gesu: You're very welcome! I'm always thrilled to hear someone reading my posts has enjoyed learning about science. It's such a fascinating, wide-reaching area of study.

Michael Offutt: Well, maybe a little. :) I'm a huge fan of Stephen Hawking.

Lee: It's impossible to tell until scientists start exploring!

Susan: Absolutely it has. The telescopes out in space are truly impressive.

Jagoda: I only started hearing about it as I researched this post. It's . . . well, I can't really say. Treating science as religion can be a dangerous thing.

Charles Gramlich said...

I need to read some more physics stuff. it's been a while and there are so many fascinating things in the field happening.

Jake and Terri said...

Dark Matter. . . It seems the more we figure out the more we find out we don't know.

Interesting read. Thanks for the links for more information.

The Golden Eagle said...

Charles: I read physics books and can hardly keep up! It's a fast-moving field.

The Golden Eagle said...

Jake and Terri: You're very welcome. :)