back to article Dark matter researchers think they've got a signal

Three Weakly Interacting Massive Particles – WIMPs to physicists – may not sound like many, but they're enough for excitement. That's because if they exist, WIMPs would solve the “dark matter” puzzle. They are, however, exceedingly difficult to detect because of the first two words of their name. They're “weakly interacting”, …


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  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    It's their own fault

    Call it the God particle and it jumps out at you, call them WIMPS and they hide for years.

    They should rename the theory super-universe-powering-energetic-real particles and then they would have the confidence to stand up and be counted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I worry about avalanches, earthquakes, meteors hitting the earth and giant mega tsunamis.

      Now I have to worry about dark matter destroying everything....

      What next?

      1. Code Monkey

        "What next?"


      2. aaronj2906_01

        We need dark matter

        My physics is rusty... but.

        Last time I checked, DM was needed to explain the mass of our galaxy and what his holding it together. If DM were not present, the milk way galaxy would fly apart.

        1. Spoonsinger

          Re: We need dark matter

          The Daily Mail doesn't like foreign stuff though, so there is probably some other force behind it.

  2. Turtle

    Compelling reasons, but...

    I know that there are some compelling reasons to think that dark matter really does exist but nonetheless I would not be surprised if dark matter turned out to be the new luminiferous ether.

    As for the results just announced, well, everyone makes mistakes...

    1. Wzrd1

      Re: Compelling reasons, but...

      True enough, there are quite a few new notions in physics that greatly resemble the luminiferous ether (or is it aether?). :/

      Still, better to look and learn than to just assume.

      But then, I recall a bit of noise of supraluminal neutrinos a while back, then a bit about a dodgy fiberoptic connection...

      Let's wait for more observations and data, as well as a higher sigma confidence level. For, three events make not a trend.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: luminiferous ether (or is it aether?)

        Ether (English, US)

        Aether (English, UK)

        Eather (English, AU)

        [incomprehensible] (French)

        1. kryptonaut

          Re: luminiferous ether (or is it aether?)

          It's either...

    2. Britt Johnston

      Re: Compelling reasons for reviving the ether

      It IS the ether, we are just arguing about its weight and pervasiveness.

      1. perlcat

        Re: Compelling reasons for reviving the ether

        Should be easy to detect, then. Just use an ether net. (Hey, it works for catching the ether bunny.)

        I realize I should be beat for those puns. That's why I'm running for the door.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. mIRCat

    Before you know it....

    There will be hooded old men, who practice hokey religions telling us these are not the WIMPs we are looking for.

    Someone left an ancient weapon in this pocket.

  5. xyz Silver badge

    Talking through a hole in my spacetime...

    I can see the case for zero dimensional particles that do not have "access" to the electromagnetic force and are heavily attracted to visible matter by gravity, cover visible matter like fur and would act as an exchange particle or... massive collapsed dimension particles that we are heavily attracted to, but that would mean that visible matter isn't attracted to visible matter but rather that visible matter is attracted to locations in space time (from our frame of reference). I.e. we are not attracted to the Earth, but to something at the centre of the Earth and it just looks like we are attracted to the Earth because other matter got there first. mmmmm...more coffee needed.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Talking through a hole in my spacetime...

      Please, don't try to channel amanfrommars. When he posts something we are forewarned and there is sometimes amusement to go along with the headache. Your attempt only gives me a headache.

    2. asdf

      Re: Talking through a hole in my spacetime...

      According to string theory they don't even have to be zero dimensions. They could also be three spacial dimensions like we are aware of but attached to a different brane a tiny distance in unknown dimensions away from you right now. Gravity would be the only way they could interact with you or any other matter in our universe because a graviton is a closed string not attached to any brane and can freely "float" (electromagnetic interaction only possible among strings (ie matter) attached to the same brane). Of course this is all highly speculative and if anything string theory seems to be falling out of favor these days.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    But before we get too excited.

    Let's hope they checked all their cables, shall we?

  7. Winkypop Silver badge

    Great particle article...

    on Dark Matter matters.

  8. Brux Antipodeus

    The other side of the fence

    -2.8 Kelvin? Is that 2.8 kelvin in our neighbouring Univers?

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: The other side of the fence

      Clearly, something's gone wrong. Allow me to take a hammer to it. That'll do the trick.


      1. Turtle


        "Allow me to take a hammer to it."

        Ah, I see that you read the same technical journals that I do!

        1. Geoff332

          Re: Hammer.

          As I've always said: if you can't fix it with a hammer, it wasn't really broken.

          1. Ben Bonsall

            Re: Hammer.

            But, if you can't fix it with a hammer, but don't discover this until you've tried the hammer technique, it might now be *really* broken.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Dave 62

    I was going to get all steam-out-of-ears about this but then I checked when the article was posted.

    Still, schoolboy error.

  10. JDX Gold badge

    Missing matter

    Just because WIMPs are shown to exist, does not imply they make up all the "missing matter", it only means they might make up part of it. There would have to be an awful lot of them after all.

  11. Robinson


    Doesn't this somewhat contradict the recent data showing there's little to no dark matter detectable in our little region of the galaxy. Models say it should be there and that we should be able to detect its presence. But it is absent!

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Contradiction

      But now it is present again!

      "Knock Knock"

      "Who's there?"

      "Maybe not Dark Matter again!"

  12. Kubla Cant


    "Google can't convert very lower Farenheit[sic] temperatures to Kelvin."

    Are we to believe that boffins in the impressive-sounding Super Cryogenic Dark Matter Search measure temperatures in Fahrenheit, so you have to use Google to convert them?

    What else? Dimensions in yards? Volume in bushels? Weight in grains? Time in some insanely old-fashioned units like, er, seconds?

    1. Ed_UK

      Re: Fahrenheit?

      "...temperatures in Fahrenheit


      What else? Dimensions in yards? Volume in bushels? Weight in grains? Time in some insanely old-fashioned units like, er, seconds?"

      America may well have some of the greatest technology in the world and many clever people, but hearing technical talk involving micro-inches, pounds and Fahrenheit makes me think I'm listening to a surreal conversation between my grandparents.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Fahrenheit?

      Who's idea was it to quote a very low temperature in Fahrenheit in the first place? That's just daft.

  13. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Google Convert sux

    I have used Josh Madisons Convert for years. It's freeware, works and is accurate. . Concerning the WIMPs, we need to consult with the Council before the Dark Side takes control. I tried to do just that but the security guard at the local Council threw me out. They seem to discriminate against people wearing aluminium foil hats. ;-)

  14. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    "Google can't convert very lower Farenheit temperatures to Kelvin."

    Google not always to be entirely trusted.

    I'm shocked. Shocked I tell you.

  15. Michael H.F. Wilkinson


    even at the subatomic level, being hit by a wimp does have much effect

    Yeah, right. I should have gone home long ago

  16. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    More mess with dark matter detection

    However, the precise significance is not the most important issue here; in the end, we sometimes shrug off 9 sigma signals. To the right, what looks like Pollock's painting is in fact a summary of best-fit signal regions and limits from various underground experiments in the dark matter mass vs. cross section parameter space. The most worrying aspect of the CDMS result is that the signal region seems comfortably excluded by the limits from Xenon-10 and Xenon-100 experiments (the green lines in the plot). To reconcile these results one must either assume a serious systematic issue with the xenon analyses, or consider more exotic dark matter models, for example the xenophobic ones where the effective coupling to xenon nuclei is suppressed. On the other hand, the region of the parameter space preferred by CDMS is consistent with the earlier detection claim by the germanium target detector CoGeNT.

    So, dark matter, a fluke, or a fundon? Unfortunately, the past experience with direct detection experiments suggests that we will not learn the definitive answer anytime soon.

  17. Robin Baker


    whatever happened to Rankine?

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