Dark matter is said to make up around 25% of the Universe but is a tricky point to prove and one that scientists have been grappling with for many years. Katherine Freese is one such person. She is a theoretical astrophysicist who has spent more than 30 years of her life dedicated to this cause and developed a theory decades ago that related to the properties of dark matter and how it was essential in shaping the universe.
Freese’s theory led to the building of various underground particle accelerators including those in Cern in Europe. Using these accelerators, Freese, and her team was able to gain a better understanding of WIMPS (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles), which may have been essential in helping to create the universe. WIMPS are everywhere, but they are large particles that do not interact with electromagnetic forces which are why they are so hard to trace.
But, Freese predicts that WIMP’s would have come into existence shortly after the Big Bang and went on to investigate this theory with two other astrophysicists – Paolo Gondolo from the University of Utah, and Doug Spolyar from the University of Stockholm. She comments, “When people studied the sun, they realized that the central planets are moving really rapidly, but then as you move further out, they’re moving more and more slowly. But, that’s not what they found: what they discovered was that as you move farther and farther away from the center of the galaxies, things are still moving with the same speed. In other words, they’re whipping around the center of the universe, and… well, that’s really peculiar.”
So, it’s with thanks to these WIMPS that we have the glorious stars and night sky that we do, and however you look at it, it all boils down to one thing and that is: without dark matter, the universe wouldn’t have been able to form. At least not yet, anyway.
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