Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mapping Dark Matter

Yesterday, there was an article online at Scientific American discussing scientists' efforts to map dark matter in space. If you're not familiar with dark matter, don't worry; no one really is. It's material that can interact with ordinary matter through gravity but is otherwise undetectable. Dark matter may make up as much as 98% of the universe, but it doesn't seem to be present on Earth, only in space.

Although I'm no expert on this branch of science, I find it fascinating that there's so much out there we don't know about yet. If scientists ever discover the nature of dark matter, we could be in for another paradigm shift, like the ones Kuhn talks about in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. (I still remember that from my History of Science class during undergrad.) I attended a panel on dark matter in science fiction last year at WisCon; you can read my notes here if you're interested.

What areas of science do you think we know the least about?

5 comments:

Eric said...

Anti-matter. And gravity. Those two things would revolutionize our world if we understood them better IMHO. Thanks for the post though, interesting stuff.

Connie Keller said...

I think one of the special gifts of scifi and spec fic is that they remind us that we don't know nearly as much about the way the world/universe works as we think we do and then we're in danger of repeating the mistakes of the past.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Those are good choices, Eric.

Great point, Connie!

Catherine Stine said...

The energetic forces that power what we'd call "intuition", 6th sense. I think we'll need more sensitive detection capacities to gain more real insight into those. I'm thinking of going to Wiscon. Never been there, but it sounds fun.

Rachel Morgan said...

Is dark matter the same as anti-matter? Is it the same as the "God particle" they talk about in Dan Brown's ANGELS AND DEMONS? Cos that's all I know about it!

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