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Big Unknowns: what is dark matter

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Matter as we know it accounts for less than 5% of the known universe – the rest remains something of a mystery. Photograph: ESO/VISTA/J. EMERSON / HANDOUT/EPA

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Big Unknowns: what is dark matter?

Matter as we know it accounts for less than 5% of the known universe – the rest remains something of a mystery

In 1933, Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky published a paper inferring the existence of what he called “dunkle Materie”, or dark matter. It was decades before this theory was taken seriously by the scientific community, but today the idea that the universe is filled with vast quantities of mysterious stuff that we can’t see and have never detected directly is considered mainstream science. But how has the world of science progressed in recent times? And does dark matter represent anything more than a proxy for our misinterpretation of the laws of gravity?

To help reveal what we do know about dark matter, Hannah Devlin is joined in the studio by University College London astrophysicist Dr Andrew Pontzen. We also hear from Dr Peter Capak of the Nasa/JPL Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, who is part of a consortium hoping to probe the nature of dark matter by mapping 30 billion galaxies in 2019. And finally, from Dr Sarah Malik of Imperial College London, who is a part of a team at the Large Hadron Collider hoping to detect the undetectable.

source : The Guardian Science

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