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Home Forums General Discussion "Pass me the torch. I think I've found some dark matter."

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This topic contains 26 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Brian Blake 2 years, 7 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 27 total)
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  • #8352

    Andy Sawers
    Moderator
    Topics: 117
    Replies: 592

    Probably a bit too soon for anyone to crack open the champagne or fill in the Nobel Prize application form, but there’s some inconclusive ISS evidence of a dark matter particle being found.

    http://earthsky.org/space/space-based-particle-detector-hints-at-dark-matter?utm_content=buffer40d1d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    #8353

    Mike Meynell
    Moderator
    Topics: 119
    Replies: 752

    Fascinating stuff.

    More details can be found in this paper.

    However, I note from this paper that:

    To determine if the observed new phenomenon is from dark matter or from astrophysical sources such as pulsars, AMS is now making measurements to determine the rate of decrease at which the positron fraction falls beyond the turning point (item 5), as well as to determine the antiproton fraction (the ratio of antiprotons to protons plus anti-protons). These will be reported in future publications.

    Oh well… wait and see (or not see), I suppose.

    #8355

    Brian Blake
    Participant
    Topics: 187
    Replies: 409

    The problem for me is that once again a discovery has been publicised before being fully analysed. This almost smacks at desperation to find dark matter. There needs to be a more level headed approach taken.

    #8362

    Andy Sawers
    Moderator
    Topics: 117
    Replies: 592

    Good point. Reminds me of Ali Mozaffari’s comment last week about how much money and how many jobs depend on the search for dark matter. Entire careers – and more – have been invested in the search for something that they’ve calculated to at least three significant digits, but haven’t actually found yet. ‘Desperation’ may well the issue – though it’s easy for me to comment from the sidelines without any alternative approaches to suggest.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  Andy Sawers. Reason: link added
    #8364

    Mike Meynell
    Moderator
    Topics: 119
    Replies: 752

    …how much money and how many jobs depend on the search for…

    Could say that that a whole host of scientific theories that have a “consensus” view… but it’s probably best not opening that particular can of worms… lest I be labelled with the dreaded “d” word 😮

    #8371

    Tej
    Participant
    Topics: 36
    Replies: 590

    IMHO, I think its absolutely fine to publish this finding.  They are not declaring that they have found dark matter, they are just reporting a very interesting result in their experiment that may suggest they have found dark matter.  By reporting this finding, other scientific teams can analyse, scrutinise, collaborate, or help the team determine if they are onto something or if they think there are errors in there apparatus.  Sure, I remember one of you saying, there can be premature papers due to pressure to maintaining funding but that’s their risk and in the end, I think its morally harmless and still serves in sharing the knowledge gained so far with other other research teams who can help verify.

     

    It is the media that can destroy the integrity of the poor research teams by sensationalising in-progress research findings.  Its exciting to read non verified experimental results.  So in a way, its our fault too (well mine anyway, not you Brian, lol) as being only human, I rather be a sucker for being teased and tantalised over exotic speculations from inconclusive experiments than to hear nothing at all 🙂

     

    Edit: just saw Mike’s last post…ooops if I just opened a can of worms, I’ll close the lid!

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  Tej.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  Tej.
    #8379

    Andy Sawers
    Moderator
    Topics: 117
    Replies: 592

    Actually, I think you’ve got a point, Tej. The Cern dark matter paper is much more caveated than the ‘We’ve found gravity waves oh wait no it’s just some dust’ announcement.

    But Brian’s point is still valid as a general observation. I admit (as a journalist) that ‘We’ve found the origin of life, the universe and everything’ makes a better headline than ‘We’d like to share some data with you’ – hence the pressure on (expensive) scientific teams to be bold to justify their continuing existence.

    #9060

    Brian Blake
    Participant
    Topics: 187
    Replies: 409

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/oct/16/dark-matter-detected-sun-axions

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  Andy Sawers. Reason: link fix
    #9062

    Andy Sawers
    Moderator
    Topics: 117
    Replies: 592

    Just to add a little punch to Brian’s link, the headline on that Guardian story is “Dark matter may have been detected – streaming from the sun’s core”. It’s research by Leicester University using ESA’s data from the orbiting XMM-Newton observatory, submitted in a paper to the RAS.

    Sadly one of the authors died the day after submitting the report.

    #9063

    Tej
    Participant
    Topics: 36
    Replies: 590

    Sadly one of the authors died the day after submitting the report.

    🙁

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/oct/16/dark-matter-detected-sun-axions

    The last paragraph is key. So now need other researchers to the same and verify integrity of the experiment itself…but its all exciting and once its great we have these in-progress announcements of “possibilities” 🙂

    If Axions are true dark matter particles, it still could be just a fraction of what makes up dark matter. As it took over centuries to find the makeup of baryonic matter which is just a tiny percentage of cosmic “stuff”, imagine how long it will take to break down the components of dark matter which we havent even reached first base yet!

    #9110

    Tej
    Participant
    Topics: 36
    Replies: 590

    There is a Gresham College public lecture at the museum of London on Wednesday 1pm on “The Search for Dark Matter”.

    http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/the-search-for-dark-matter

    Brian, you going? Anyone else? I hope to make this but I will be coming back in the morning from a night outside of London to watch the Orionids but still hope to attend.

    #9111

    Brian Blake
    Participant
    Topics: 187
    Replies: 409

    I am hoping to be there.

    #9113

    Tej
    Participant
    Topics: 36
    Replies: 590

    Hopefully see you there then, Brian

    #9118

    Mike Meynell
    Moderator
    Topics: 119
    Replies: 752

    There is a Gresham College public lecture at the museum of London on Wednesday 1pm on “The Search for Dark Matter”.

    Sadly, can’t make it… but if anyone attends, please post a report here.

    #9127

    Brian Blake
    Participant
    Topics: 187
    Replies: 409

    Unfortunately due to pain in ribs I am not going to todays lecture, Sorry Tej.  Do write a report though.

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