Big Picture Science – Big Questions Somewhat Answered: Dark Matter

by Gary Niederhoff on January 19, 2015



Dark Matter
click to listen (trt 5:19)

Part 4 of Big Questions Somewhat Answered, featuring Sean Carroll, cosmologist at the California Institute of Technology, explaining how we know dark matter exists, even though it’s never been directly detected and we don’t know what it’s made of.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Mike A. Schwab January 20, 2015 at 8:24 am

I was researching the matter anti-matter balance and came across http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CP_violation . Some mesons decay into electrons slightly more often than positrons. Now to incorporate this imbalance into the big bang theory…

  1. The big bang starts. Everything is energy, creating particle – anti particle pair, which then meet and convert back to energy. Some mesons produce extra electrons.

  2. As the energy levels decrease, creation of proton / anti-proton pairs ceases, later creation of electron / positron pairs cease.

  3. When electrons orbit protons to form hydrogen, the particles in these atoms are then electrically neutral and don’t attract their anti-particle, greatly increasing their lifetime. Neutral atoms composed of protons and electrons are attracted together by gravity and form the first suns.

  4. Charged particles are repulsed by the same charge keeping them evenly distributed throughout the universe, and could push out the boundary of the universe. Excess electrons and anti-protons could be the dark matter and their negative electric field could be the dark energy.

  5. Another decay process that is unbalanced could reduce (or increase) the number of anti-protons in the universe.

avatar Jim Harris January 20, 2015 at 11:42 am

The only question that keeps me awake on occasion is not what happened right AFTER the Big Bang. No, my big question is what happened BEFORE the Big Bang! IMO the Big Bang couldn’t happen from nothing. There had to be something to bring it about. What? This is the one to which there will never be an answer. Working backward on the other side of “the beginning” could make me even more insane if I dwelt on it very long.
At least we come up with great names for things that are beyond us of don’t fit neatly into our theories– dark matter, dark energy, Big Bang, black hole, etc., as though naming it makes it real for us.

avatar carmen January 21, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Is Dark Matter stagnant particles, that needs a reactor to become charge?

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