Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Search for Dark Matter: The Preliminary Results of the LUX Dark Matter Detector

Dark matter: it is a difficult and troubling concept for many who try to understand it. After all, how can something that is so crucial to our existence exist, yet we cannot see it? Well, as a crude analogy, the very air we breathe fits into this same category. We cannot see air, but no one here is disputing the premise that air exists. Of course, this is because we can prove that air is there; however, we were unable to really see or define it for years--for centuries. In fact, we didn"t even discover oxygen (the third most abundant element in the universe that makes up nearly 21% of the earth"s atmosphere) until the 1770s. In a similar way (but using a very different approach than the one used to define air), we have started to get verification for dark matter through the scientific method.

According to our model of cosmology, dark matter is thought to make up 26.8% of the total energy density of the observable universe. This is in stark contrast to regular matter, which comes in at just 4.9%. Subtracted from the total energy density of our homogeneous universe, dark matter would come in at a whopping 84.5% of the total matter of the universe, utterly dominating it. Thus, in order to truly understand the cosmos, we need to define and understand its existence.

To read about dark matter and our quest to understand it, see:

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