Dark Matter, Dark Matter, Everywhere! It’s in your shoes, it’s in your coffee, it’s in the stars and even in your favorite cheese… at least, it’s widely believed to be wandering all about, mostly unnoticed. Still it’s not quite as inscrutable as its reputation would lead you to believe. It’s responsible for a galactic glow, an abundance of anti-matter, and now — three quiet little taps in an underground mine.
Or is it?
Apparent effects of dark matter have been “discovered” so many times in the last decade that you may by now feel a bit jaded, or at least dispassionate. Certainly I do. Some day, some year, one of these many hints may turn out to be the real thing. But of the current hints? We’ve got at least six, and they can’t all be real, because they’re not consistent with one other. It’s certain that several of them are false alarms; and once you open that door a crack, you have to consider flinging it wide open, asking: why can’t “several” be “all six”? All of the dark-matter search experiments are difficult, as they involve pushing the technological envelope. And as anyone with experience in science knows, most of the exciting-sounding results emerging from forefront experiments don’t survive the test of time. Never underestimate the challenge of science at the frontier of knowledge!
Still, as of two weeks ago, we have a new dark matter hint to talk about. So here’s a summary of the various hints, including the new one, exploring their implications and their consistency.