Weekend Round-Up: Slow Motion, Dark Matter, And A Beautiful Planet



One of the most basic facts known to modern physics is also one that most of us don’t think about much at all unless we’re in the cosmology biz. The gist of it is this: there isn’t enough universe in the universe. In particular, the amount of matter we can observe seems insufficient to explain the kinds of gravitational interactions we see in, and between, stars and galaxies, and by a considerable margin – so-called dark matter would need to make up a whopping 85% of the matter in the universe in order to reconcile the gravitational books. The problem is that dark matter by definition cannot be detected except by gravitational interactions, so figuring out what exactly makes up most of the universe’s mass has proven, to say the least, a head-scratcher. However, one candidate particle – a purely hypothetical one, called an axion, which is a cool sounding name for something hypothesized as a solution to a very knotty problem known as the “strong CP problem” – may have been detected in an experiment lurking in the dark: a gigantic detector buried under a mile of solid rock in Italy. Researchers aren’t claiming to have solved the problem yet, but according to this story, something funny may be afoot.

– Jack Forster, Editor-in-Chief



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