Dark Matter Filament in Galaxy Supercluster Directly Measured

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A filament of dark matter, which works like the Universe’s backbone, and dictates where galaxies can form, was observed for the first time by astronomers using a technique that could help astrophysicists understand the structure of the Universe.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

A Molecular Directional Dark Matter Detector made from Gold and DNA

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Scientists are working on a directional dark matter detector that will use strands of DNA and gold in order to detect the elusive non-baryonic matter. A combined team of physicists and biologists are collaborating in order to create a suitable detector that will try and find dark matter, which accounts for much of the universe’s mass.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

Dark Matter in Form of WIMPs Hits Humans Once a Minute

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New calculations have shown that the average human gets hit by a particle of dark matter about once a minute. Dark matter, which is supposed to make up about 80% of the matter in the Universe, hasn’t been directly observed, but scientists have seen its apparent gravitational effect on galaxies and even larger galaxy clusters.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

Physicists Use Cheap Colliders to Probe for Heavy photons

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A three-week experiment is set to start on April 24th at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia, in which electrons will crash into a thin tungsten target 500 million times a second that will create a cascade of short-lived particles. Physicists of the Heavy Photon Search (HPS) are hoping to finds signs of a heavy or dark photon.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

The Bolshoi Simulation: Boxing the Universe

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The Bolshoi simulation is the most accurate cosmological simulation of the evolution of the large-scale structure of the universe. Larger simulations, including the BigBolshoi and Multidark, run at a volume 64 times bigger than Bolshoi and have just been publicly made available to astronomers and astrophysicists. The Bolshoi simulation used data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe that measured tiny spatial variations in the cosmic microwave background radiation, giving a glimpse of the distribution of matter and energy at an earlier epoch of the visible universe.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

What is the Matter Gap?

What does it mean to cross the matter gap, or beyond the matter gap? Are we talking about non-baryonic matter, ie exotic matter, which could be a candidate for dark matter? Can something actually come from beyond the matter gap? What are the properties beyond the matter gap?

I’ve searched, but the most relevant thing that I could find is “filling the matter gap”, ie finding other types of matter, matter different from the baryonic matter that we know.

Dark Matter

On a snowy winter day in 1991, Lu Gang, a slightly built Chinese scholar who had recently received his Ph.D. in plasma physics, walked into a seminar room at the University of Iowa’s Van Allen Hall, raised a snub-nose .38-caliber Taurus pistol, and killed Professor Christoph Goertz, his thesis adviser; Robert A. Smith, a member of his dissertation committee; and Shan Linhua, a fellow Chinese graduate student and his rival.

Next, Lu went to the office of the chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dwight R. Nicholson, who was also on his dissertation committee, and fired three more fatal shots. Then, he walked over to Jessup Hall and demanded to see T. Anne Cleary, associate vice-president for academic affairs. When she emerged from her office, he killed her and then shot and maimed her twenty-three-year-old assistant. Finally, in an empty conference room, Lu raised the pistol to his head and killed himself.

Why a brilliant, hard-working young Chinese physicist, who had come to the US six years earlier filled with pride and hope, had come to such a bitter end is the subject of Dark Matter, a recently released feature film by Chinese-born director Chen Shi-Zheng. It stars Liu Ye as the initially idealistic and ambitious, then humiliated and enraged, protagonist (named Liu Xing in the film); Aidan Quinn as Liu’s arrogant faculty adviser (playing Christoph Goertz); and Meryl Streep as a kind, if naive, patron of the university who befriends Chinese students.

Read more at NYBooks. (via 3quarksdaily)

Large Hadron Collider

Fantastic images of the large hadron collider in Switzerland and France, which is almost completed. It looks extremely complicated.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 27 kilometer (17 mile) long particle accelerator straddling the border of Switzerland and France, is nearly set to begin its first particle beam tests.

At a total cost of 10 billion dollars, the LHC is going to be used to smash particles together to search for the illusive Higgs boson. It’s presence has been predicted.

Another particle that physicists have been searching for is the graviton, which would be to gravity what a photon is to light. Finding the graviton would help the theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics.

Neutralinos are also particles that would be important to find. They are partly predicted by supersymmetry. Visible matter makes up 4% of the universe. 22% is made out of dark matter. The other 74% is made out of dark energy. Dark energy is the opposite of gravity, since it’s that force which pushes the universe to expand. Many physicists suspect that dark matter is made out of neutralinos.

What dark energy is, though, is a mystery. It is possible, just, that the properties of the Higgs boson will cast a little light on that mystery.

To find out more, consult the excellent article at the Economist about the LHC.