Vera Rubin and Dark Matter Vera Rubin has been quoted as saying "Does Sex Matter? Of course it does. But does it matter enough to Matter? That's a different question." She is an astronomer and mother of four who successfully combined a serious career with raising a family. She is one of the discoverers of dark matter. [more inside]
"We have entered the new millennium and yet we still have no idea what 95% of the universe is made of." The Large Underground Xenon experiment has failed to see a single particle of Dark Matter. Will the Lux Zeplin have better luck?
Eric Weinstein has a PhD in mathematical physics from Harvard, but has spent most of the last 10 years outside academia working as an economic consultant for a New York hedge fund. Now he apparently has a new theory of everything that claims to be able to explain quantum gravity, dark matter and dark energy. Actual details have not yet been provided and some physicists are dismissive. But his work has received enthusiastic endorsement from Oxford's Simonyi Professor of Public Understanding Marcus du Sautoy, with whom he has been discussing the theory over the last two years. [more inside]
A number of headlines have proclaimed the detection of "dark matter" today, but Science News has a more measured take. What we do know is that the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer riding aboard the ISS has detected positrons at high energy. Some theorists suggests that dark matter collisions would generate these positrons, but dark matter annihilation should also produce antiprotons, gamma rays and radio waves, which have not yet been observed. Since dark matter is suspected to account for far more of the universe than ordinary matter, the AMS data is a tantalizing hint of what we might learn.
The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos, to know itself.
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is a thirteen-part television series of one hour shows written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, that was aired at the tail end of 1980 and was - at the time - the most widely watched series in the history of American public television. It is best introduced by an audio excerpt of one of his books, The Pale Blue Dot. Inside is a complete annotated collection of the series. [more inside]
You may already be familiar with PhDComics (Previously) and the PhDMovie (Previously), but PhDComics.tv has now become a pretty fantastic resource for both researchers and laymen. [more inside]
Visualization of the dark matter in 1/1000 of the gigantic Bolshoi cosmological simulation, zooming in on a region centered on the dark matter halo of a very large cluster of galaxies. ... The Bolshoi simulation is the most accurate cosmological simulation of the evolution of the large-scale structure of the universe yet made (“bolshoi” is the Russian word for “great” or “grand”). (The Formation of the Milky Way and its Neighbors is cool too.)
The Wire Files Open-access online journal darkmatter, "producing contemporary postcolonial critique," devoted its fourth issue to the television drama The Wire. An editorial explains that the "special issue aims to examine the place of race in the complex formation of the series." Thirteen articles cover The Wire's political economy, subversion of heteronormative assumptions, racial codes, Herc as a Zelig-like nexus, Baudrillardian urban space and much more in a veritable smorgasbord of academic bean-plating.
A fascinating talk about the composition of the universe [Youtube, approx 1 hour], presented by Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist at CIT. [via] [more inside]
China: Humiliation and the Olympics. Orville Schell discusses China's angry reaction to foreign criticism, the film Dark Matter (based on the 1991 Lu Gang shooting in Iowa), and the Beijing Olympics. ... what gives Dark Matter wider significance is the filmmakers' use of the Iowa incident to explore—indirectly—some important psychological dynamics between China and the West: China's deeply felt sense of historic injury by foreign nations, and the ways its often thwarted efforts to gain acceptance among leading world powers have exacerbated such sentiments. In the past, feelings of injury have arisen from such events as the Opium Wars and the Japanese occupation; and most recently after the Tibetan demonstrations this spring and during the run-up to this summer's Beijing Olympic Games. From the New York Review of Books.
UniverseNewsFilter: Scientists claim to have detected dark matter! Here are NASA's press release, feature page and multimedia presentation. For an explanation what dark matter is, I refer you to this page. After all that excitement, you can sit down and work out how much dark matter is in the Milky Way.
Does dark matter exist? Dark matter has been suggested as a solution to the galaxy rotation problem where individual stars don't seem to rotate the way Newton's laws would predict. Now, some scientists are saying that observations fit with Einstein's general relativity, without any dark matter needed. I just find it amazing that no one has tried this yet.
Art from physics: it's a groovy gas. It's transonic flight. It's a pi-muon death cycle. It's a dark matter detector. It's a Super-Kamiokande with 9000 neutrino eyes. Dream on!
It ain't so dark anymore. Dark matter seems poised to assume its place among those astronomical phenomena that were predicted to exist before being observed. The planet Neptune and black holes to mention two of them. The last 100 years have really been a boom time for astronomy, and they're not slowing down.