Mystery of Dark Matter May Be Explained by Showing It’s Not There #poem #poetry #Physics #gravity


There is evidence for dark matter. Weak gravitational lensing data from the Hubble Space Telescope imply this distribution of dark matter.

You and I are special
Along with all we view,
Just one in five of all that is
From this stellar clue.

The galaxy of the Milky Way,
Rotating fast, should scatter.
Based on the mass of stars we see
There must be hidden matter.

For decades we’ve accepted
This mystery profound.
It’s central to the notions
That cosmologists expound.

But data’s always coming in
As telescopes get better,
Till movements of the stars
Are described by normal matter.

Perhaps it’s relativity
That we don’t comprehend.
The shape of space and gravity
Were never quantum’s friend.

So what’s the answer when
Disagreement is so keen?
Why, get more data till we know.
God’s subtle but not mean.

by Kate Rauner

Christian Moni-Bidin, an astronomer at the University of ConcepciĆ³n in Chile, and his coauthors have a forthcoming paper in the Astrophysical Journal. Based on the hundreds of stars, all within 13,000 light-years of Earth, visible material explains their motion. Unseen dark matter isn’t needed, at least not this close to Earth.

The next step is to replicate the calculations for millions of stars. If dark matter really doesn’t exists, then gravity is messier than either Newton or Einstein realized.

Thanks to Albert Einstein for the quote in that last line, and to for their article.

Einstein Was Right #Einstein #GravitationalWaves #science #physics #EinsteinWasRight #GravityWaves

Gravitational_wave_spectrum_Sources_and_DetectorsOver a billion years ago, two black holes that had been orbiting each other smashed together. Ripples in space-time from the collision reached Earth. Specifically, the waves reached a pair of giant interferometers in the United States, located in Louisiana and Washington state.

Scientists have for the first time detected gravitational waves, ripples in space and time hypothesized by Albert Einstein a century ago, in a landmark discovery announced on Thursday that opens a new window for studying the cosmos…

The colliding black holes that produced these gravitational waves created a violent storm in the fabric of space and time, a storm in which time speeded up, and slowed down, and speeded up again, a storm in which the shape of space was bent in this way and that way.

I’m no physicist, but I find it easier to picture gravity as a warping or reshaping of space and time, not a fog of quantum particles. Transmogrified to an audio signal, something a person can experience, black holes go whoop.

I’ve read that Einstein’s work has been overwhelmed by quantum mechanics. Even, if you view PhDs as the children of their advisors, that Einstein’s line has gone extinct. So in addition to wondering what new view we’ll have of the universe by looking at gravity waves, I feel good about this discovery.

This is probably not good news for anyone’s grand unified theory of everything. Gravity remains different from the other fundamental forces of electromagnetism, weak nuclear, and strong nuclear. Nature refuses to settle into a neat, tidy human understanding.

How frustrating, how problematic, how infuriating. How awesome.

Thanks to reuters for the quotations above. Many outlets covered the news.

Einstein’s Stardust #space #Poetry #poem #star

Stardust escapes a supernova

Stardust escapes a supernova

You may only know him
As the world’s most famous geek.
Einstein’s fame depends upon
A formula we can repeat

E = m c-squared

Your GPS just won’t work
Without his time dilation.
Satellites far above
Use relativity’s foundation.

If you like the gleam of gold
It’s re-emitted photons
That shift the sunlight’s frequencies
To yellow-reds we dote on.

Relativity explains
Light moves at finite speed.
If it were instantaneous
There’d be no light to see.

But it’s in supernovas
Where relativity
Overcomes quantum effects,
Creates the stardust,
To make,
And me.
by Kate Rauner

For a quick run through relativity in everyday life, see

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We don’t understand gravity #BlackHoles – a #poem by Kate Rauner

Gravitational Waves That Aren’t There

Black holes – massive gravity sinks,Wavy
Anchor galaxies at their cores.
Orbit closer, closer till,
Merge into one, forevermore.

Sending ripples through space-time
So pulsars, clocks of the gods,
Seem to us, here on Earth,
To vary in their endless nod.

If Einstein’s right,
So it should be.
Syncopation from the sky
In general relativity.

But it’s not there.
We’ve searched and tried.
Gravitational waves
Elude our eyes.

Despite the failure
Don’t surrender.
Theory passes tests
That it engenders.

Except this one,
At least so far.
Not quite as smart
As we think we are.

It works too well
To lose our fervor.
Perhaps we need
To just think harder.

Thanks to csmonitor and the upcoming paper in the journal Science from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia.

QED – a poem by Kate Rauner

Bosons carry force
Among the fermions
Flying back and forth –
Colliding with the masses.
All these interactionsFeynmann_Diagram_Gluon_Radiation.svg
Exchanging many photons
Exceed our calculations –
The math beyond our grasp.
A million million histories
Are not enough to tell
The pathways are a mystery –
Too many to envision.
When all the paths are added
Results become absurd
Infinity of masses –
Of minuses and pluses.
Infinities that run to right
Infinities to left
Yield answers that are finite –
Renormalized at last.
From these results we can’t predict
The math seems somewhat dubious
But once electrons are fixed –
The method is a triumph.
Weak nuclear combines
With electromagnetism
But strong nuclear we find
Evades with gravity.
Strong nuclear is parallel
A similar approach
But gravity is physics hell
Somewhere Einstein chuckles.

I’ve read many attempts to explain quantum physics without the mathematics. I’m currently reading The Grand Design by Hawkings and Mlodinow and I like it a lot. The tone is casual, the diagrams helpful, and the many cartoons are a lighthearted touch. If you’re a non-physicist, read this book, even if you’ve read other explanations. Remember Richard Feynman once wrote “nobody understands quantum mechanics.” But it has never failed a test, and if all that testing says it’s so, then it is so. The quantum world exists outside our intuitive, common-sense experience, so forget all that and follow the proof.