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back to article Dark matter pioneer scoops Oz science prize

If you want to know why we’re searching for the Universe’s pesky dark matter, here’s someone who deserves to shoulder at least some of the blame: Professor Ken Freeman of Australia’s Mount Stromolo Observatory – and winner of the 2012 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. You could argue that Professor Freeman has had to wait a …

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Most excellent!

Congratulations, Ken!

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Pint

Well earned

Another great discovery, borne of the human need to ask questions.

Fuck I love science.

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On the other hand

Scalar-tensor-vector gravity theory is claimed to be able to explain the effects attributed to Dark Matter and Energy. I sometimes think that I prefer the idea that our models might be wrong than that there are exotic forms of matter and energy out there.

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FAIL

Forget Dark Matter

Prof Freeman has indeed done some groundbreaking research into galactic structure, but his comments about the need for "Dark Matter" (from the *appendix* to his 1970 paper, not the main body) seem to have taken unfair centre-stage in the science of galactic dynamics.

It's all a mistake. You don't need exotic matter, Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) or "Scalar-tensor-vector gravity" to explain the observed motion of galaxies. Any schoolboy with a knowledge of ordinary Newtonian gravity theory, a knowledge of computer programming and an ordinary PC can write a physics model and demonstrate the fact.

I realised this myself about a year ago and wrote a physics simulation of my own which panned out as I'd suspected. However, as I started to write up a paper on the subject (and did a better literature-search), I realised that I was by no means the first to spot the mistake: see http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0309762.pdf for a paper by Nicholson dating from 2007. Nicholson's computer model deals with the thickness of galactic disks, mine assumed infinitesimal thickness but modelled the disk with a lot more point-masses than Nicholson did.

Regardless - we both get the same results as far as I can see. Huh: I was (at least) five years too late. No Nobel Prize for me :-(

What I can't understand is why the mainstream astrophysics community are still banging on about Dark Matter when the real explanation is so simple and has been known for so long. They're not going to find any, y'know......

You can't apply Newton's Theorem of Shells to disks! Isaac Newton himself knew that his theorem only applied to *spheres* of mass. Nicholson (mentioned above) wasn't even first to spot that error, but his paper is the first (that I've found) that actually reports results from computer modelling.

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Kudos to Professor Freeman !

Thanks for reporting on this, Richard - we're not particularly privileged with news on happenings Down Under here in Europe....

Henri

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