How the Edge of Our Galaxy Defies Known Physics | Summary and Q&A

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December 6, 2019
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How the Edge of Our Galaxy Defies Known Physics

TL;DR

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is being used to search for dark matter, an invisible substance that makes up a significant portion of the universe but remains a mystery to scientists.

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Key Insights

  • 🫥 Dark matter is an invisible substance that makes up approximately 26.8% of the universe, while normal matter accounts for only 4.9%.
  • 💥 Evidence for dark matter includes observations of galaxy rotations, galaxy clusters, collision phenomena, and the overall distribution of matter.
  • 💥 The LHC offers unique opportunities to search for dark matter through direct production and detection in collisions that produce exotic debris.
  • 🧡 Various candidates for dark matter particles exist, ranging from primordial black holes to weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) and axions.

Transcript

  • Here's a fun question. What do you do with the LHC, a $50 billion science experiment once it achieves its primary goal? Well, you tackled the biggest unanswered mystery in physics. A mystery that began in the 1960s when astronomer Vera Rubin looked up at the Andromeda Galaxy and noticed something puzzling. The stars at the edge of the galaxy were... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How do we know that dark matter exists if we can't see it?

The presence of dark matter can be inferred through its gravitational effects on visible matter. Observations of galaxy rotations, galaxy clusters, and collision phenomena provide evidence for the existence of dark matter.

Q: Are there alternative explanations to dark matter, such as modifications to our understanding of gravity?

Some scientists have proposed modified theories of gravity to explain the observations attributed to dark matter. However, the current consensus is that dark matter is a necessary component, supported by multiple lines of observational evidence.

Q: What are some candidates for dark matter particles?

Dark matter candidates include primordial black holes, weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), axions, and other hypothetical particles or composite structures. Experimental searches, including those at the LHC, aim to detect or rule out these candidates.

Q: Can the LHC directly create and detect dark matter?

The LHC can potentially produce dark matter particles in its high-energy collisions. However, the detection of dark matter at the LHC depends on specific mass ranges and the constraints imposed by existing experimental results.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Dark matter was first hypothesized in the 1960s when astronomers noticed that stars in the Andromeda Galaxy were moving much faster than expected. This led to the search for the invisible substance.

  • Dark matter is necessary to explain the observed rotation speeds of galaxies and other cosmic phenomena. Without it, galaxies would not be able to exist or spin as fast as they do.

  • Scientists have gathered various evidence for the existence of dark matter, including observations of galaxy clusters, collisions, and the overall distribution of matter in the universe.

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