dark matter

dark matter

´╗┐Can dark matter research be justified?

For the whole of human history, science has been at the forefront of (and often the causal factor of) human development. New spinning machines which allowed for more efficient, cheaper wool to be made was one of the main factors that caused the industrial revolution - the single biggest change seen in the world, governed by scientific progress. The examples of a product of science benefiting the whole society are countless. However, we are currently finding ourselves in a odd situation in modern science. One of the biggest experiments ever carried out is the large hadron collider based in CERN. A 27Km ring of superconducting magnets which took 10 years to build, involving 10,000 scientists from over 100 countries. The cost? Roughly 10 billion dollars1. The end product? Knowledge of a particle that makes near enough no effect on our macroscopic lives. It seems we have entered an era of science where our knowledge and curiosity far oversteps any practical use. Nowhere is this clearer than in the researching of dark matter which neither emits nor absorbs light, making it virtually undetectable. This phenomenon has been hailed as one of the greatest mysteries of our time - but how useful is it really? Will it actually affect anyone who is not curious about it? Shouldn't the massive amounts of money being spent on it be redirected to an area which will increase everyone's quality of life? Can dark matter research really be justified?

The first signs of dark matter presented themselves in 1933 to Fritz Zwicky, a scientist at the Californian Institute of technology. Zwicky was measuring the mass of the Cosizema cluster of galaxies3, first by recording the Doppler shift of the individual galaxies, which allowed him to calculate the velocities of each galaxy. Using the Virial theorem, he was able to relate the velocities of the galaxies to the amount of gravitational force acting them. As Grav =, Zwicky was able to make an...

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