Years after most of the universe’s mass went missing, it seems we still can’t figure out where it went. Scientists have put a WIMP detector in a Minnesota mine hoping to find the elusive quarry, but to no avail. See the BBC News story here: BBC NEWS | Dark matter detector limbers up.
A WIMP is an (as yet undemonstrated) weakly interacting massive particle, and the theory says that the missing mass may be packed in the back pockets of these heavy but barely detectable particles. It reminds me of 19th century efforts to keep the old ether theory of light propagation alive, despite all evidence to the contrary. But I’m no physicist. For some reason, I’m charmed by the fact that fully 70% of the universe is locked away somewhere and we have absolutely no idea where it is. It’s both humbling and exciting to see such gaping holes in our model of the universe.
Anyway, if you happen across the missing mass, please notify the authorities. You may want to print up a few our Americans for a Closed Universe flyers for distribution around town. Or, as Derwood Tuthill says, “Save the Universe: it’s the environmental issue of all time.”