What Is Dark Matter?

NASAPaul Davies, director of Beyond: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University and a Science & Religion Today contributor, explains:

After the big bang that created the universe 13.7 billion years ago, matter was spread smoothly through space. Aided by the gravitating power of the dark component, ordinary matter was pulled into clumps, which later evolved into galaxies that spawned stars, planets, and, in one case at least, life.
A consensus has emerged that dark matter mostly consists of massive particles coughed out of the big bang. The reason for the appellation “dark” is because, unlike atomic particles, they have no electric charge, so cannot emit or scatter light. Nor do they feel the strong nuclear force that traps protons and neutrons in atomic nuclei. As a result, the dark particles interact so feebly with ordinary matter that they mostly pass right through it.

Category: Space


One Response

  1. Rob Kettell says:

    When you find things that don’t fit into your concepts of the universe (like the rotation of galaxies) you can either invent some new magical substance (like dark matter) or go back and review the assumptions that went into your formulas. Instead of taking the first route Petr Horava at the University of California at Berkeley took the second route and seems to have found that we don’t need dark mater if we review our assumptions about time and space. His thoughts were presented at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario in November last year. Check it out.

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