Field of Science

In the Dark

Dark matter is the commonest, most elusive stuff in the universe. Can we grasp this great unsolved problem in physics?
Interior view of the LUX dark matter detector, image courtesy of Luxdarkmatter.orgThe world we see is an illusion, albeit a highly persistent one. We have gradually got used to the idea that nature’s true reality is one of uncertain quantum fields; that what we see is not necessarily what is. Dark matter is a profound extension of this concept. It appears that the majority of matter in the universe has been hidden from us. That puts physicists and the general public alike in an uneasy place. Physicists worry that they can’t point to an unequivocal confirmed prediction or a positive detection of the stuff itself. The wider audience finds it hard to accept something that is necessarily so shadowy and elusive.
I just published this article in Aeon Magazine, read on!