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 Concepci√≥n 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.

Falling is a Mystery #poetry #richardfeynman #feynman #quotes

Mushroom Rock

Mushroom Rock, Chiricahuas – photo by Kate Rauner

This poem was inspired by Richard Feynman’s book Six Easy Pieces, Lecture 5: Theory of Gravitation

“Some major mysteries in physics have frustrated great minds for decades, including the nature of … gravity, for which no particle has been found.”¬†


by Kate Rauner

Everything is always falling, falling everywhere.

It all seems so familiar we don’t see the mystery there.

What holds the sun together, what keeps the planets bound,

What pulls the tides through oceans, keeps my feet upon the ground.

It is the shape of space-time; through four dimensions fall.

So now we see the mystery, can it be a force at all?