The search for what is now known as dark matter may have been going on for centuries. Early philisophers and alchemists quested for the thing that was present in everything. They cosnidered that if it could be discovered it could be manipulated to make base metals into gold, and even provide an elixir for immortality. The quest may be over- physicists may have finally found hard evidence for the existence of dark matter.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston will make an announcement in the next few weeks to co-incide with the publication of a report- if the final tests and analysis of data holds up.
Dark matter is thought to be the invisible bonding agent which makes up the bulk of the universe’s mass. Its existence was first theorised pre-World War 2, to explain the way that galaxies expand and move in clusters.
While dark matter seems plausible on paper, it hasn’t yet been possible to directly observe dark matter or know of what it’s made. However a machine called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer may well pull the covers away and expose dark matter. These experiments, combined with information coming out from the Large Hadron Collider collisions mean that we are close to achieving a new understanding of why what we see is really so small a slice of what there really is out there in the cosmos.
That’s big stuff, although personally, I’d still like to change up some of my cheap Indian brass plates to gold….
As for where the expression “His Dark Materials” comes from- it’s from the infamous poem Paradise Losy by John Milton:
Into this wilde Abyss,
The Womb of nature and perhaps her Grave,
Of neither Sea, nor Shore, nor Air, nor Fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mixt
Confus’dly, and which thus must ever fight,
Unless th’ Almighty Maker them ordain
His dark materials to create more Worlds,
Into this wilde Abyss the warie fiend
Stood on the brink of Hell and look’d a while,
Pondering his Voyage; for no narrow frith
He had to cross.
Very apt, I think!
It’s time to smash atoms again for the LHC( Large Hardron Collider). Although the atom smasher is working only on half force, scientists still are bracing themselves for some amazing discoveries. They are mostly after the God Particle, or what scientists call the Higgs Boson. There is also a chance that they discover unknown dimensions.
It’s first aim is to recreate the Big Bang to solve scientific riddles such as dark matter, the invisible material that makes up most of the Universe. The Large Hardron Collider is housed in a 27km long tunnel beneath the French-Swiss border.
Prior to the December shutdown, the Large Hadron Collider had set a new world record in high-energy physics by accelerating two beams of proton particles to 1.8 tera (trillion) electron volts (TeV) each and smashing them together, for a combined collision energy of 2.36 TeV.
The current schedule calls for operating the machine at a level that would result in collisions with the energy of 7 TeV (3.5 TeV per beam) until late 2011 or early 2012. Already an exciting year just thinking about the Precession of the Equinoxes that has been predicted for the same year.