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A visualization of particles jets in the CMS. Yellow is the path of the particles, while blue and red represent energy detected from the particles.  (Source: CERN/Imperial College of London)
Discovery of dark matter's behavior would solve many outstanding mysteries in physics

Dark matter makes up five times more of the universe's mass than visible matter (~25% vs ~5%), yet scientists have yet to directly observe this ultra-abundant substance.  Scientists also have yet to observe dark energy, which may well beat out normal energy in universal abundance.  This lack of direct observations means that scientists know precious little about two of the most important physical components of our universe.

That could soon change.  CERN's Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile long circular underground track that is chilled to almost zero degrees Kelvin, is recording incredibly violent collisions, the likes of which haven't been seen since billions of years ago.  Those collisions will likely produce exotic substances like dark matter, which will be analyzed by the LHC's instruments, unlocking long debated mysteries of physics.

Scientists think they are making progress in the hunt for the SUSY – also known as supersymmetric particle, or 'sparticle'.  Scientists believe the sparticle may be the mysterious dark matter, given its theoretical stability.

In order to detect sparticles, scientists must probe the matter resulting from the collision for the absence of energy and momenta signals -- the sign that a sparticle was produced, rather than a standard particle.  This lack of energetic emissivity is the reason why dark matter is dark -- it does not transfer energy to photons, like standard particles.

More specifically, the researchers are trying to detect a "jet" of particles traveling in the same direction, post proton-beam collision, that lack a significant amount of detected energy and momentum.  

Professor Oliver Buchmueller [profile], a faculty member at the Department of Physics at Imperial College London who is doing research at CERN, describes the LHC team's findings, stating [press release], "We need a good understanding of the ordinary collisions so that we can recognise the unusual ones when they happen. Such collisions are rare but can be produced by known physics. We examined some 3-trillion proton-proton collisions and found 13 'SUSY-like' ones, around the number that we expected. Although no evidence for sparticles was found, this measurement narrows down the area for the search for dark matter significantly."

The CMS (compact muon solenoid) detector was co-designed by faculty at the Imperial College, one of Europe's best physics schools.  

Professor Geoff Hall [profile], another Imperial College physics faculty member working at CERN, describes the recent detection of "SUSY-like" streams of particles, stating, "We have made an important step forward in the hunt for dark matter, although no discovery has yet been made. These results have come faster than we expected because the LHC and CMS ran better last year than we dared hope and we are now very optimistic about the prospects of pinning down Supersymmetry in the next few years."

Later this year, physicists will run more trials, which they hope will verify the existence of dark matter in the stream.  They also hope that the theory of supersymmetry will be verified as an accurate description of dark matter, allowing the Standard Model of particle physics to be officially extended.

Looking ahead there's also much hope that the higher-energy collisions might yield a legendary Higgs boson, which would offer much more insight into the behavior of the universe.  The LHC's other major detector -- ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS) -- was designed to search for the Higgs boson.

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RE: Here We Go Again
By SPOOFE on 2/3/2011 1:42:49 AM , Rating: 3
Let's take a look at why the ideas of Dark Matter and Dark Energy were created shall we?

Observations were made that didn't coincide with known facets about the universe, meaning that there was something that we didn't know.

so Dark xyz was thought up to plug the leak of uncertainty

More accurately, to give a NAME to the uncertainty. It's not exactly new; it's been, what sixty years since dark matter was proposed? And under that time, scientists have been doing... what? Sitting around and twiddling their thumbs? Or rigorously testing the hypothesis and finding favorable, though not conclusive, evidence?

as was proven of Newton's theory.

Incorrect. Newton's maths still function quite well on the scales they were initially derived. They fall apart at the quantum level and at the incredibly huge level, where relativistic effects are far more important to the outcome of an equation.

This leads us back to Dark Matter/Energy, yet another fabricated constant that conveniently balances the maths

Yes, "fabricated", despite the fact that the numbers for claims about dark matter are derived from a humongous number of observations and calculations and experiments; nah, scientists didn't actually do any of that, they just made stuff up.

, it cannot be found, nor detected.

Sure it can. It's just not easy. Look up neutrino detectors and the ridiculous extent necessary to find just one of 'em.

RE: Here We Go Again
By kingius on 2/3/11, Rating: 0
RE: Here We Go Again
By FaaR on 2/7/2011 6:37:53 PM , Rating: 1
Oh please, spare us the tired old conspiracy claptrap routine.

Science is the reason you're even able to spout your bollocks worldwide from across the internet in the first place; you can ponder that little tidbit as you also consider what your life would have been if we'd still been stuck in a pre-renaissance existence.

You owe fucking EVERYTHING to science. Without it you wouldn't even be alive. So show some respect, thank you, instead of trying to portray scientists as scammers and con artists.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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