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Shining Light on a Dark problem

September 7, 2008

Dark Matter is one of those abiding mysteries in physics. Although something like a quarter of our universe is supposed to be filled by dark matter (visible matter is just 4% the rest being another mysterious energy field called, very illuminatingly, dark energy) physicists really have no clue what dark mater is made of. None of the known particles of the Standard Model of Particle Physics fit its properties.

It is now believed that the European satellite PAMELA has some evidence about the nature of dark matter. However, the Italian-led research group which is believed to have this data has kept it a closely guarded secret, apart from a quick flash of a slide in an international conference.

Some physicists now have decided to take matters into the own hands. Arming themselves with a digital camera poised to shoot, they have quickly taken photographs of the slides that were flashed in a conference. Using this ‘photographic’ evidence they have submitted a couple of papers in the preprint
arxiv, giving full acknowledgment to the ‘photographic’ source of their data. These papers are here and here. Both have recreated data from photos taken of a PAMELA presentation on 20 August at the Identification of Dark Matter conference in Stockholm, Sweden.

If these enterprising physicists used a flash to photograph the slides, would it be a case of shining light on a dark problem?