Dark matter: Michio Kaku explains hypothetical substance
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Dark matter has eluded scientists for close to a century now after astronomers first posited the presence of “missing matter” in space when observing nearby galaxies in the 1930s. Today, we know dark matter accounts for about 85 percent of all the material in the universe, and yet, we have never seen or interacted with the substance. Dark matter is considered “dark” because it does not emit light or directly interact with radiation in any meaningful way.
Instead, we can infer dark matter’s presence in galaxies by witnessing its gravitational effects.
In simpler terms, galaxies appear to be much, much heavier than the sum total of their visible matter.
Dark matter acts as a cosmic glue of sorts, holding galaxies together and preventing their spin from tearing them apart.
The substance has proven to be one of the most challenging puzzles of the 20th century, but a team of theoretical particle physicists at the University of California, Riverside, think they may have found a solution.
A new paper published in the Journal of High Energy Physics has proposed Dark Matter’s properties can be explained through a new, extra-dimensional force.
Flip Tanedo, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy and the paper’s lead author, said: “We live in an ocean of dark matter, yet we know very little about what it could be.
“It is one of the most vexing known unknowns in nature.
“We know it exists, but we do not know how to look for it or why it hasn’t shown up where we expect.”
Scientists have proposed a number of theories over the years in a bid to solve the puzzle.
Some believe dark matter could be explained through primordial black holes, while others have suggested dark matter is gravity leaking into our reality from another dimension.
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Whatever the case may be one thing is certain: we still have no clue how to detect it.
Professor Tanedo and his colleagues have now proposed looking for dark matter through an extra dimension in space-time.
According to their theory, some dark matter particles refuse to act like regular particles.
And if two dark matter particles are attracted or repelled by one another, then the expert thinks “dark forces” are at play.
Professor Tanedo said: “The goal of my research program for the past two years is to extend the idea of dark matter ‘talking’ to dark forces.
“Over the past decade, physicists have come to appreciate that in addition to dark matter, hidden dark forces may govern dark matter’s interactions.
“These could completely rewrite the rules for how one ought to look for dark matter.”
The expert proposed a fourth dimension of space known only to these dark or continuum forces.
And though this may seem like a completely left-field idea, Professor Tanedo thinks the maths check out.
The key is to think of these dark forces as a continuum of an infinite number of particles with varying masses, called a continuum.
The theory is fairly radical as the forces interacting with dark matter are very different to the forces that interact with regular matter – gravity, electromagnetism, the weak force and the strong force.
Professor Tanedo said: “My research programme targets one of the assumptions we make about particle physics: That the interaction of particles is well-described by the exchange of more particles.
“While that is true for ordinary matter, there’s no reason to assume that for dark matter.
“Their interactions could be described by a continuum of exchanged particles rather than just exchanging a single type of force particle.”
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