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Dark matter

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52638.  Sat Feb 18, 2006 5:43 am Reply with quote

Anyone looking into Dark Matter? Lots of stuff here:
I canít understand a word of it, but might be of use to someone.

Frederick The Monk
52726.  Sat Feb 18, 2006 10:25 am Reply with quote

Tricky stuff - at the Solvay Conference on the Quantum Structure of Space (at the beginning of last December) Nobel Laureate David Gross summed up the state of the Standard Model of Cosmology (which requires such things as 'dark energy' and 'dark matter') as being in 'a period of utter confusion'. He feels that string theory has run itself into the sand and that somehow physicists are missing something really big - perhaps as big as the thing they were missing before Einstein came along (whatever that was).

I msut admit I used to bang on to people about string theory until I realised that;

a/. I didn't have a clue what I was talking about
b/. My acceptance of it was more religious than scientific.

It's the latter point that really worries me. For the current cosmological models to work physicists have to persuade us that nearly everything in the universe is hidden from us and is unlikely ever to be detected by any equipment we invent. Surely that is tantamount to saying 'God did it - believe me'. I am certainly no physicist, well not past A level which was more about dropping weights on your feet really, but any model that requires me to accept the untestable as the fundamental cornerstone of a theory is surely a belief.

There, I've said it. I feel much better now.

Last edited by Frederick The Monk on Fri Feb 24, 2006 5:46 am; edited 1 time in total

55023.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:48 pm Reply with quote

Dark Matter and Dark Energy are the two manufactured false legs on which the so called Standard Model hobbles about.

Without them it would fall over.

Cosmologists are looking in the wrong direction.

764951.  Sat Dec 04, 2010 4:39 pm Reply with quote

The theory of dark matter really is fascinating, and requires a fair amount of physics understanding to explain it (for example, understanding electromagnetic interactions, and how the four fundamental forces work, gravitaional laws and interactions, etc)

I am doing a research project on it this year as part of my physics degree. My tutor, however, has devoted 12 years of his life into researching the nature of dark matter, and still doesn't understand it. This is the kind of thing that will boggle the minds of non-physics inclined folk who wish to read about it purely to extend their general knowledge.

765227.  Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:35 am Reply with quote

Welcome to the forums, mellie. Good to see another physicist (or proto-physicist, at least) in these parts.

What does your tutor think of Dark Energy?

765463.  Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:36 pm Reply with quote

b/. My acceptance of it was more religious than scientific.

It's the latter point that really worries me.

Notwithstanding Frederick's understanding - the difference between dark matter/dark energy and religious guff is that the former makes assertions about predictable (albeit hard to detect) events and accepts that if no explanation is forthcoming to explain a failure then the model is (at least partially) wrong. The latter asserts that they are right without suggesting anything remotely resembling proof or even a repeatable experiment.

The essential difference can be enscapsulated in the sudden appearence of a fully formed James T Kirk in your living room. Religion says "shit happens - just accept it's a miracle and we'll tell you what it means when we've figured out our political position"; science says "that's bloody odd - what the hell is going on - this may take some time".

Frederick's acceptance of scientific thinking might be equivalant to religion - that doesn't mean that science is equivalent to religion.


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