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back to article Dark matter: Good news, everyone! We've found ... NOTHING AT ALL

The most sensitive dark-matter detector ever built has failed to detect any dark matter. It's not yet a problem for the instrument, the LUX Dark Matter Collaboration that The Register described here and here. What it might mean is, in an echo of the kind of iterative narrowing-down that characterised the hunt for the Higgs-boson …

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What do scientists do if dark matter can't be found? Are there any alternative models of the universe that explain the missing mass?

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Meh

perhaps dark matter/energy is cosmological philogiston

There still may be unknown physics, the Tevatrons final runs had an interesting energy anomaly, but the steady no-shows of dark matter suggest that Carmelli should be considered. His cosmology calculations requires no missing anything while matching quite well with observations, recent checks on fundamental constants being stable and relativity. Just cope with a 5 dimensional universe. Oh, and dropping a philosophical assumption that the universe is homogeneous.

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Electrical model of the universe

There is an electrical model of the universe that doesn't require dark matter. It assumes that gravity is relatively unimportant in holding the universe together and that the main forces are electrical / electo-magnetic. Hence no need for the missing mass required by the gravity model. The predictions of the electric universe theory seem to be true but it is regarded as very much a fringe science as everyone KNOWS that the universe is held together by gravity. This latest finding throws a little more support towards the electric universe model and away from traditional astrophysics.

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Follow The Pioneers!

"What do scientists do if dark matter can't be found?"

They change the acronym to "NIMPs" - NON-Interacting Massive Particles - and spend the rest of their careers talking, writing, theorizing, and generally philosophizing about it, with no fear of ever being contradicted by experiment. String theorists have done any amount of pioneering work along these lines.

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Coat

Even darker matter ;-)

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Headmaster

Re: Electrical model of the universe

There is an electrical model of the universe that doesn't require dark matter.

Unfortunately it resides in crank universe and it firmly intends to stay there. It seems to be pretty much at odds with things that one can see in a telescope. In a positivist science, this is generally a Bad Thing. I won't even mention websites promoting it that look like something out of geocities. I think it's mainly made up by electrical engineers afraid of an Einstein mass/energy tensor letting fly.

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Re: perhaps dark matter/energy is cosmological philogiston

There's also MOND (Modified Netwonian Dynamics): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOND

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Re: perhaps dark matter/energy is cosmological philogiston

As a chemist can I say phlogiston not philogiston unless you're really trying to incorporate philosophy into it

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Facepalm

They've made a basic error. They are looking for light being emitted from collisions between WIMPS and zenon.

They should be looking for dark being emitted.

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@Dave 52

What do scientists do if dark matter can't be found?

They'll have to come up with another story to "help them secure further Department of Energy funding".

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Alien

RE: What do scientists do if dark matter can't be found?

Lewd suggestions aside, there are plenty of theories that can be concocted in the face of any facts.

The dark matter is probably hiding deep in the oceans somewhere...;-)

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Unhappy

@ Destroy all monsters

>> Unfortunately it resides in crank universe and it firmly intends to stay there. <<

>> I won't even mention websites promoting it that look like something out of geocities. <<

Ah, this would be the name calling and style criticising bit of the "scientific debate". Good to see so many upvotes for this fantastic bit of reasoning.....

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Personally I've never been exactly convinced by the basic theories of dark matter and dark energy. To me it all feels too much like "we've made something invisible up to make one set of theories work". On the other hand, I'm not a theoretical physicist, I just (try to) talk semi-coherently with some of them.

The good thing about science, is that when a theory is put forward and it's been shown to be almost certainly wrong, science can move on and try out a different theory. The bad thing about science is that's it's run by people and people have a habit of clinging onto incorrect theories for personal reasons (which are very understandable if you've spent 15 years of your life trying to "prove" something). Many of history's very eminent scientists have stuck rigidly to incorrect theories even while some of their other, well known, work was outstanding.

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"Even darker matter"

Hotblack matter? Would that prove that the whole fabric of the space-time continuum is not merely curved, it is in fact totally bent?

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I've said it before and I'll say it again. Antimatter!

So we've found the Higgs, therefore we have to consider the anti Higgs having anti gravity properties.

I suggest antimatter resides at a particle level in intergalactic space and like normal matter wasn't totally annihilated in the Big Bang.

The galaxies that look to be too light to keep themselves together, at the rate of spin we see, are in fact assisted by antimatter pushing back.

I'll say no more, promise, as I've already bored the pants off enough Reg readers recently with this theory, but if you do want to see how my "logic" pans out, have a drift through some of my recent posts. (click on my name)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Electrical model of the universe

It looks pretty interesting to me. It seems to be based on a plasma universe, which recognizes that 99.999% of the visible universe is in the plasma state. It is also known that plasma respond strongly to electromagnetic forces, which explains how the solar wind can accelerate away from the sun's gravitation field, and cosmic jets can even accelerate away from the immense gravitational fields of a black hole.

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As Max Planck put it: "Science progresses one funeral at a time."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Electrical model of the universe

No it doesn't. It just suggests WiMPs may not exist or if they do are different than what was suggested. Or that the dark matter if it exists may be caused by Q-Balls, Axions or MaCHOs.

Electric model / Plasma model cosmology was seriously fringe even when it was postulated far more so now given many of the questions it sought to answer were answered in other ways.

"Hence no need for the missing mass required by the gravity model." -> Yeah but a need to find awful lotta amps.

As for "everyone KNOWS that the universe is held together by gravity.", well yeah I think we are pretty certain, the solar system certainly seems to be, good use of caps to suggest condescension though.

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Boffin

Higgs transfers mass, not gravity

Higgs transfers mass (and mass = energy). An anti-higgs would transfer either negative mass (and therefore negative energy), and this could open up serious research into making stable wormholes.... but knowing how twisted quantum mechanics is, it would probably just end up transferring conventional mass to anti-particles.

Negative mass would have some interesting anti gravity properties, but having that zipping around at a massive speed around in a gravity field would be very interesting... and would end up sitting in the lowest gravity areas of the current universe, so nowhere near us...

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Holmes

Re: @ Destroy all monsters

Ah, this would be the name calling and style criticising bit of the "scientific debate". Good to see so many upvotes for this fantastic bit of reasoning.....

Thank you for the expectation that I would have enough time and energy to seriously dissect an ALTERNATE EXPLANATION OF THE MATRIXLIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING in El Reg reader's forum.

People interested in learning more about the (non) controversy are invited to apply Google to the problem but to stay within the bounds of what common sense tells them about the websites they visit. There are also "books".

In particular, the following information may be of help when you encounter Tim The Enchanter and his Electric Staff:

Martin Gardner’s Signs of a Crank

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Anonymous Coward

@ Destroy all monsters

Well you're operating on a particularly low level today, now aren't you?

"Thank you for the expectation that I would have enough time and energy to seriously dissect an ALTERNATE EXPLANATION OF THE MATRIXLIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING in El Reg reader's forum."

If you're going to whine about downvotes and criticism, don't post.

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Paris Hilton

Re: @ Destroy all monsters

I whined about downvotes and criticism?

Metaphysically related, how can I whine about downvotes and criticism if I must not post?

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Re: perhaps dark matter/energy is cosmological philogiston

Netwonian?

Is that a Google conspiracy against physics?

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There are alternatives, but most of them are unattractive for various reasons. The two big categories are modifications of Einstein gravity at very long distances, and modifications of Newton dynamics at very low accelerations. It's fairly direct to see why either of these has an uphill battle.

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jbz

If space-time itself contained vortices (perhaps as the residual effect of rapid expansion?), these curvatures would read to us as the gravitational field of a mass, though there was no actual mass. The flotsam that is galactic clusters would naturally collect in such whirlpools.

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Multiple Universes

One alternative model suggested earlier is based upon the concept of the multiverse. If it is assumed that gravitational forces transcends multiple universes, then the gravitational force of outside universes could explain the accelerating expansion of our own.

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Pint

> If space-time itself contained vortices

Please provide an adequate mathematical model of this. We currently can barely get gravitational waves going, so don't put all your money on vortices...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Plasma model of the universe

"As for "everyone KNOWS that the universe is held together by gravity.", well yeah I think we are pretty certain, the solar system certainly seems to be, good use of caps to suggest condescension though."

The planets in the solar system are not plasma, but solid objects, which are affected by gravity, Plasma is influenced strongly by electromagnetic forces to the extent that gravity takes a back seat. Since 99.999% of the visible universe is in the plasma state, then 99.999% of the visible universe is more strongly affected by electromagnetic forces.

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Re: @Dave 52 .... and so beautifully simple it works so very well ....

.... up to the point it be discovered by smarter folk. Then the Fun and Shenanigans and Greater IntelAIgent Games Begin for things are never to be the same again. And that be Future Progress Deliverable Today for Everyone Tomorrow with IT Takeovers and MainStreamMedia Makeovers in Reported Alternative Intelligent News Stories ..... Legitimate Registered Thin Client Tall Tales*

What do scientists do if dark matter can't be found?

They'll have to come up with another story to "help them secure further Department of Energy funding". .... plrndl Posted Thursday 31st October 2013 11:31 GMT

Quite so, plrndl. That's what everything is about in paper fiat currency societies/dumb ignorant control systems.

* PS ... Who do you think dreams up your news and views for tomorrow. Surely you cannot believe that things just happened today and nobody thought of them yesterday to make them happen and be a shared media reality for all who be aware of it today? That would be just too stupid and unbelievable for words and strictly for dummies and the birds methinks.

That is how things are done in SMARTR Apps with Titanic Studio Bigger Picture Shows.

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Re: Follow The Pioneers!

"with no fear of ever being contradicted by experiment"

You're confusing science and religion there. Not for nothing but yes there are alternative theories - and there's also the possibility that we could just be measuring it wrong or missing some basic fact about lets say, gravity.

When stuff goes "wrong" it's always the most exciting time in science because it gives people a chance to posit bold, entirely new theories. Imagine if you will if LHC had disproven the existence of the Higgs what sort of world we'd be living in today.

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Re: @ Destroy all monsters

>Ah, this would be the name calling and style criticising bit of the "scientific debate".

No, it would because most supporters are people (...I'm being polite) who wouldn't know peer review if had an a in it and grew on trees, and have no idea what a Lagrangian is.

Hand-waving and storytelling are Not Science. They may pass the time and be entertaining, but you're gonna need some unexpected testable predictions if you want to be taken seriously, and a clean formalism would be a nice bonus.

None of the above has ever appeared from EU corner. Nor is it likely to.

The best you'll get is Argument by Analogy and some A level maths. Which are Not Science Either.

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Re: Plasma model of the universe

"The planets in the solar system are not plasma, but solid objects, which are affected by gravity,"

Or if you are feeling ultra-skeptical, consider the interplanetary probes that we have sent up. They were definitely not electrically charged when launched. If they became so during flight, it is a pretty awesome coincidence that their subsequent unplanned trajectories exactly match the ones that were engineered for them on the basis of a gravitational model of the solar system.

To pick up where Destroy All Monsters left off, anyone seriously advocating a cosmology with electromagnetism taking the place of gravity is so far beyond the reach of reason that we frankly don't care if they are offended. It's not that we don't have time to knock down your theories with hard evidence. (I've just taken the time to knock down an electrical model of the solar system, for example.) It's that we don't have time to deal with the inevitable come-back, where they completely ignore the evidence against them, advance a new hypothesis, and start shouting about how science is just a religion and a grand conspiracy to hide the truth to protect their reputations.

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Re: Electrical model of the universe

> As for "everyone KNOWS that the universe is held together by gravity.", well yeah I think we are pretty certain, the solar system certainly seems to be, good use of caps to suggest condescension though.

Well everyone "knows" that matter is held together by gravity. However, the universe is not necessarily made of matter.

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Re: @ Destroy all monsters

> People interested in learning more about the (non) controversy are invited to apply Google to the problem but to stay within the bounds of what common sense tells them about the websites they visit.

I think Einstein would suggest that "common sense" is a very bad indicator as to what is right and what is wrong.

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Re: Electrical model of the universe

oh... so you're the guy from Logan's Run?? I think his name was "Logan" but I could have the last two letters of his name wrong.

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Re: Electrical model of the universe

Let me guess... the electricity came from nothing.

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Headmaster

Re: @ Destroy all monsters

> I think Einstein would suggest that "common sense" is a very bad indicator as to what is right and what is wrong.

I would think your would find out that this would not be so.

Also, I meant "use common sense to detect crankery" not "use common sense to detect new physics". The former is generally >> easier than the latter.

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Re: What do scientists do if dark matter can't be found?

Evil Matter. It's like dark matter, but we can't see it, hear it, or speak of it.

On a more practical note, a stupid question: Have they calculated the 'light' energy that has been emitted since the beginning of time, or the energy that is currently emitted (as measured by looking at the 'past' for more distant parts)? Could the missing 'mass' be in the form of light being currently transmitted through or even out of the universe? Add in the fact we don't know exactly the state of black holes further away as the light is - lets say historical.

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Some people say we live in a computer, but that then begs the question of "What is outside of the computer?" My guess is that it's dark matter, but it doesn't really matter.

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Re: Higgs transfers mass, not gravity

Do you suppose that it's just coincidence, or is it fitting that "Higgs Boson" alludes to the fact that some doped up clown came up with the idea. That's what I think.

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Re: perhaps dark matter/energy is cosmological philogiston

I think you meant to say "Modified Newtonian Dianetics", but that means you have to believe in L Ron Hubbard. Hey, maybe that's what they're doing at CERN... it's just a Large Head Ron Collider

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Re: RE: What do scientists do if dark matter can't be found?

"The dark matter is probably hiding deep in the oceans somewhere...;-)"

I don't think there's enough whale poo at the bottom of the ocean to explain all the missing mass.

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Holmes

Re: Follow The Pioneers!

"Dark" Matter Theory: In a Nutshell

x + y = z

x = 1

y = 1

z = 3

1 + 1 = 3 ?

Conclusion:

There is "d", the unknown, which we'll nickname "Dark Matter", such that:

x + y + d = z

However, "d" does not appear to exist, and we can't find it!

At no point will we ever consider the possibility that our estimates of "x", "y" or "z" were simply wrong, or even that the underlying theory itself is wrong. Instead we'll promote the idea that an unknown value in a theoretical equation, which we've branded "Dark Matter", is in fact a real substance that we just haven't found yet.

Welcome to that field of "research" known as the fantasy sciences.

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Yes, there is an alternative explanation!

Please see www.thunderbolts.info for a cogent theory of astrophysics from the perspective of plasma physics. No need to have "dark matter", "dark energy" and all the other fevered imaginings of theoretical mathematicians.

When the data no longer fit the established theoretical matrix, then its time to reexamine the fundamental assumptions.

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The "we've made something invisible up to make one set of theories work" approach has been successful in the past, e.g. for the Periodic Table of the Elements, so I wouldn't dismiss it out-of-hand.

Obviously, as, no doubt, the scientists in this field are telling their funding committees, we need more data.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Follow The Pioneers!

"At no point will we ever consider the possibility that our estimates of "x", "y" or "z" were simply wrong, or even that the underlying theory itself is wrong."

What makes you think that? It's not that they haven't considered such things, it's that dark matter is the simplest category of possibilities, and includes the possibility of x>1 as well as introducing a d. Dark matter isn't entirely instead of "the possibility that our estimates of "x", "y" or "z" were simply wrong, or even that the underlying theory itself is wrong." Do bear in mind that the very ideas of WIMPs and axions as dark matter rely on the Standard Model being incomplete, with some theories being incorrect in some such sense.

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"Are there any alternative models of the universe that explain the missing mass?"

@Dave 52, yes the creationists have a quite popular theory. Of course that one only works if science becomes a voting system rather than relying on any kind of evidence :)

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It's not just to explain the missing mass.

It's the problem with a accelerating expansion of the universe, that our measurement of the redshifting we see from distant stars and galaxies.

If dark energy doesn't exist, which it believed to exist due to dark matter, the whole bigbang theory is difficult to fit to the measurements of our reality.

Then there are alternative theories on the cause to redshifting, whether correct or not it would be interesting to find out for sure. If there may be other reasons to redshifting than we know of, we can conclude that we don't even know if the universe is expanding or not.

For more info google: plasma redshift.

Unfortunately scientist who study this are not that popular, I however think this should be ruled out or proven before we do more assumptions on our models of the universe.

If this turns out to be what causes the measured redshifting, we can throw away the whole big bang theory. That's probably the very reason to why so few scientists even want to touch on this subject as such a discovery would put all we think we know about the birth of the universe in the trashbin.

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Boffin

"Incomplete theory"

Playing with "incomplete theories" is more like a religion than science.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ Destroy all monsters

The carthorse called "Destroy All Monsters" has one gear, labelled "ad hominem" The sign of an intellectually uncertain position.

Yes, there are cranks aplenty in fringe physics but your haste to label them all cranks and not address the arguments is very revealing, Sir.

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