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Posts Tagged "dark matter"

Critical Opalescence

How Do You Count Parallel Universes? You Can’t Just Go 1, 2, 3, …

Cosmologists have been thinking for years that our universe might be just one bubble amid countless bubbles floating in a formless void. And when they say “countless,” they really mean it. Those universes are damned hard to count. Angels on a pin are nothing to this. There’s no unambiguous way to count items in an [...]

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Critical Opalescence

Charismatic Megaparticles Might Hint at Dark Matter, and Much Besides

At a lecture I went to some years ago, astrophysicist Trevor Weekes compared garden-variety elementary particles to mosquitoes. They are plentiful and easy to find—indeed, they find you. But ultra-high-energy gamma rays, he said, are like elephants. They are fairly rare, but among the greatest of creatures. They often roam in spectacular habitats. Their sheer [...]

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Critical Opalescence

Is Dark Matter a Glimpse of a Deeper Level of Reality?

Two years ago several of my Sci Am colleagues and I had an intense email exchange over a period of weeks, trying to figure out what to make of a new paper by string theorist Erik Verlinde. I don’t think I’ve ever been so flummoxed by physicists’ reactions to a paper. Mathematically it could hardly [...]

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Life, Unbounded

This Is What We Don’t Know About The Universe

dont panic.001

In recent days I’ve had some interesting conversations. There’s a giddiness going around, related to an outpouring of science love – the kind you get from President Obama introducing TV science shows, the kind that has wonderful visuals, but is, well, a wee bit simplistic (a sin that none of us could ever, ever be [...]

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Observations

5 Unanswered Questions That Will Keep Physicists Awake at Night

Orion Nebula photo

Physics is all about probing the most fundamental mysteries in nature, so it’s no surprise that physicists have some very basic questions about the universe on their minds. Recently, Symmetry Magazine (published by two U.S.-government funded physics labs) asked a group of particle physicists to name the open questions in physics they most want answers [...]

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Observations

Strange Signal at Galactic Center–Is It Dark Matter?

Dark matter distribution around the Milky Way

Are there dark doings near the center of the Milky Way? That may be so when it comes to the collision of dark matter particles. Although such particles are invisible, we could still theoretically see the mess they make when they collide. It’s this idea that leads physicists to scour the galaxy for some glimmer [...]

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Observations

Dark Matter Could Become a Hypochondriac’s New Nightmare

If you still worry about the millirems of radiation you get at the dentist’s office, you might soon have yet another reason to gobble down an Ambien at bedtime. A paper just posted to the arXiv physics preprint server outlines the amount of dark matter that all of us are exposed to on a regular [...]

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Observations

Underground Xenon100 experiment closes in on dark matter’s hiding place

Xenon100 detector in a cleanroom

A major dark matter experiment has taken a swipe with its technological net in the hopes of catching some of the elusive particles that make up the universe’s missing mass, and once again that net has come up empty. But in swiping and missing, the Xenon100 experiment has closed in a bit tighter on where [...]

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Observations

What’s the (dark) matter? Physicist Peter Fisher says we may not know for 10 years

Dark matter

Maybe science really is back in vogue. Or maybe "dark matter" is a case of remarkably successful scientific branding—who wouldn’t be drawn in by a name like that? Then again, maybe people just want to know what the heck makes up the vast majority of the universe, a question to which science has provided only [...]

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The Countdown

5 Unsolved Space Mysteries – The Countdown, Episode 26

  More to Explore: Life on Mars Ultra-High-Energy Cosmic Rays Type 1a Supernovae Dark Matter The Fate of the Universe

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