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back to article MIT boffin teases space-station probe's DARK MATTER DISCOVERY

A top astroboffin has hinted that an upcoming paper will reveal a major breakthrough in dark matter research. Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer installed on the S3 truss on ISS The AMS installed on the S3 truss of the ISS MIT scientist and Nobel Laureate in Physics Samuel Ting told reporters at the American Association for the …

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Trollface

"Cosmic-ray positrons from annihilation of weakly interacting massive particles in the galaxy"

The production of cosmic-ray positrons from the annihilation of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMP’s) is considered. Conventional supersymmetric-neutralino annihilation generally yields an unobservably small e+ flux. However, a massive WIMP (≳20 GeV) with a large annihilation cross section into a single e+e- pair produces a distinctive and observable shelf in the cosmic-ray e+ spectrum. Only Dirac neutrinos obviously generate such a feature, but it may also appear in more elaborate neutralino models. Such models are constrained by upper limits on the low-energy antiproton flux.

This actually means that there is a non-zero chance of getting one or even e few e+/e- pairs out of WIMP annihilation, not that you necessarily get pairs as El Reg's words imply:

WIMPs have their own antimatter partner particles. When matter and antimatter bits meet up, they destroy each other, in theory leaving behind, in the case of WIMPs, a pair of resultant particles: an electron and a positron (a positive electron).

I foresee:

"In a few weeks, we will be able to make an announcement"

...

"For the moment, we found nothing".

Problem, world?

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Boffin

an upcoming paper will reveal a major breakthrough in dark matter research

It's darker than we thought folks.

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Coat

Its the new black

etc

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Meh

Oooh

I'm detecting an imminent dark matter event now.

Bloody Guinness.

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The question is, can we build a starship engine that runs on dark matter?

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Pint

No, but we can power shark-lasers with it.

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I'm afraid, for now, we'll have to resort to good old whale oil.

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Re: Dark matter WIMPS

"I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S EADON"

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Flame

Re: Dark matter WIMPS

You mean you cant believe Eadon managed to stay on topic for 2 whole paragraphs before reverting to type and flaming someone?

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Holmes

Re: Dark matter WIMPS

Mainly that he managed to stay on topic for 2 whole paragraphs without plugging an anti-MS rant in there.

Good show.

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re. " ...mythical string physics,..."

String theorists, the Microsoft of the physics world. They're holding us back!

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Happy

Re: re. " ...mythical string physics,..."

"String theoreticians have had far too much control over physics research, squandering great minds and many years lost "

Dr. Sheldon Cooper will be SO disappointed!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: re. " ...mythical string physics,..."

String theoreticians have had far too much control over physics research, squandering great minds and many years lost on a wild goose chase

Stringing people along ?

(someone had to say it)

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Happy

I hope it disproves both Dark Matter and especially String Theory, my gut feeling is that both are wrong and they are sucking huge amounts of funding into dead-ends.

On the other hand, if they do have concrete proof I'll be happy to retract the above.

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I think that our mathematical models may be incomplete or incorrect under some conditions, giving rise to the universe not behaving the way we expect all the time. That seems more plausible to me than the current explanations using Dark Matter and Energy.

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> It's not real science as it is not falsifiable, and never conceivably will be

Not true. Its not falsifiable by current technology directly but never say never as science can move at an exponential rate as long as humans don't kill ourselves (big if). But yes I will admit going from the quark to what constitutes matter 20 orders or more of magnitude smaller is not trivial.

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Dark matter

Dark matter, it makes up 95% of the universe, that's absolutely enormous. To give you an idea, that's 19-20 times more dark matter than the entire observable and non-observable "normal" matter in the universe.

And yet...bear in mind that for the time being, until proven otherwise, dark matter, all this enormity many times more extensive than the universe that we can see, exists solely as an imaginary device to compensate for holes in current theories in physics and astrophysics.

Just like those theories which require 9 or 13 dimensions to work, or vibrating strings, it's fancy stuff, but fundamentally, it's a sign that the basic theory is flawed and incomplete, hence extraneous and inobservable elements are brought in to try to compensate. It's mathematical trickery, it ain't physics yet. But hopefully it leads to better theories and better instruments and more in-depth observations in the end.

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Mushroom

Re: Dark matter

Yuh-huh. A bit like a flat-Earth theory. When will we know better? Possibly not in our lifetime.

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Boffin

Re: Dark matter

But what you have to remember is that without a large amount of unseen mass, no galaxy can hang together under its own 'visible' gravity

They would fly apart or would have a completely different rotational speed to the speed we can observe

And never forget, we're probing the structure of space-time whether it wants to be or not

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Re: Dark matter

quote: "But what you have to remember is that without a large amount of unseen mass, no galaxy can hang together under its own 'visible' gravity"

I thought that was what the posited "supermassive black holes" at the centre of each galaxy were supposed to be doing? Providing the required extra gravity and mass to keep the galaxies behaving the way we can see that they behaved (back in the mists of time when the light we are seeing from them was all shiny and new).

Or don't they fit the pattern any more? (I am not an astrophysicist)

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Re: Dark matter

@Boris "no galaxy can hang together under its own 'visible' gravity"

Only under our current models - but suppose our models are incomplete and that their behaviour is wrong under some conditions, in the same way as Newton's Laws fall down under relativistic conditions?

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Re: Dark matter

quote: "galaxies behave as if embedded in a larger ephemeral cloud of dark matter. Increasing the central mass would not fit the spectrum of distance from centre vs velocity"

Hmmm... I've seen figures posited for interplanetary / interstellar hydrogen concentrations (i.e. vacuums), is intergalactic hydrogen not enough to make up the perceived defecit? Or is it a case of intergalactic hydrogen needing to be far more dense than the (known) interplanetary "vacuum" for the numbers to add up?

Maybe that's where all the phlogiston went to? ;)

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Holmes

Re: Dark matter

No, not enough

Really, fermionic matter is like the moss one finds clinging to the interstices of a locomotive engine block. Very disturbing.

Time to read some Lovecraft...

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Re: Dark matter

"But what you have to remember is that without a large amount of unseen mass, no galaxy can hang together under its own 'visible' gravity"

I had assumed that our current models of gravity were based solely on experiments conducted within our own solar system. This is a very small set of data to try and extrapolate universal rules from. It seems to me to be very presumptuous to assume that; A) gravity is a constant across the entire universe, and that B) it works the same way at galactic scales as it does planetary ones.

IANAP though.

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Stop

Re: Dark matter

"galaxies behave as if embedded in a larger ephemeral cloud of dark matter."

You could also say that the planets of the Solar System behave as if they were embedded in transparent, ethereal spheres moving in epicycles...

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I'm feeliing old

I'm sure WIMP was how you navigated an Atari

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Re: I'm feeliing old

For the Atari ST, Amiga A400 and Macintosh...

Windows - check

Icons - check

Menus - check

Pointers - check

Yep, they certainly look like WIMP based systems to me :)

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Gimp

If I'm not mistaken, a WIMP is accompanied by a BLIMP. Or is that seven years of college down the drain?

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Anonymous Coward

What if...

Our Universe is a simulation where adjustments are constantly made from outside to stop it flying apart?

How would that affect the calculations, and could such adjustments be detect"!$! <NO CARRIER>

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WTF?

Whose ring do I kiss?

"But as for string theory - it cannot be proved or disproved, that's the issue with it."

I now comprehend. It is a religion then?

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