Dark Matter: the situation has changed

Ori Vandewalle

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Dark matter is one of those subjects that seems to rile people up for reasons I can't fathom. I am not an expert on it by any means and don't have a strong opinion one way or another about which hypothesis we should favor, but one point where I raise my hand to object is with the argument that "if it were there, we would have found it by now."

To me, that seems to conflate two separate issues: how the universe actually is, and our ability to detect/measure/comprehend the universe. While it might be disheartening to spend your whole career searching for a particle you never find, that doesn't really bear on whether the particle exists; human lifetimes are not (or really shouldn't be!) correlated with how difficult it is to detect invisible cosmic matter.
 

paranoid marvin

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I do believe that there are things out there in the universe that would fundamentally change our understanding of it. And the chances are that we will never know what they are.
 

RJM Corbet

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While it might be disheartening to spend your whole career searching for a particle you never find, that doesn't really bear on whether the particle exists;
It seems there's now a list of phtnomena that a DM particle would not account for, even if it could be found?
I do believe that there are things out there in the universe that would fundamentally change our understanding of it. And the chances are that we will never know what they are.
There'll always be a higher mountain. But learning about DM is so fundamentally important at the moment, imo.

The big issue now seems to be with the current model of gravity? Einstein's model is beginning to show the sort of limitations in the 21st century that Newton's did in the 20th.

Intriguing stuff ...
 
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Ori Vandewalle

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It seems there's now a list of phtnomena that a DM particle would not account for, even if it could be found?
Well, like Sabine says, there are adjustments you can make here and there so that dark matter still works. Make it self-interacting, or make a whole family of dark matter particles, that kind of thing. Yes, then you're no longer predicting stuff, and yeah a lot of it looks a little kludgy, but it still might be true. Dark matter proponents disagree with the detractors as to how plausible such corrections are, and certainly you can imagine a little bias there, but dark matter doesn't care about our sociology of science problems (assuming it exists).
 

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