Scientists working on dark matter have recently expressed dismay at the universally negative results coming from the LHC, and this has led some to consider that the standard model may be wrong.
Scientists’ predictions about the mysterious dark matter purported to make up most of the mass of the Universe may have to be revised.
Research on dwarf galaxies suggests they cannot form in the way they do if dark matter exists in the form that the most common model requires it to.
That may mean that the Large Hadron Collider will not be able to spot it.
Leading cosmologist Carlos Frenk spoke of the “disturbing” developments at the British Science Festival in Bradford.
The current theory holds that around 4% of the Universe is made up of normal matter – the stuff of stars, planets and people – and around 21% of it is dark matter.
The remainder is made up of what is known as dark energy, an even less understood hypothetical component of the Universe that would explain its ever-increasing expansion.
Scientists’ best ideas for the formation and structure of the Universe form what is called the “cosmological standard model”, or lambda-CDM – which predicts elementary particles in the form of cold dark matter (CDM).
These CDM particles are believed to have formed very early in the Universe’s history, around one millionth of a second after the Big Bang, and they are “cold” in the sense that they are not hypothesised to be particularly fast-moving.
The existence of the particles has not yet been proven, as they are extremely difficult to detect – they cannot be “seen” in the traditional sense, and if they exist, they interact only very rarely with the matter we know.
Various experiments are being carried out in deep mines in Yorkshire, on the Fermi Space Telescope, and in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland to try and detect these elusive particles, or indirect evidence of their effects.
So far, none of these experiments has conclusively spotted them.
Scientists working on the problem have recently expressed dismay at the universally negative results coming from the LHC, and this has led some to consider that the standard model may be wrong.
Prof Carlos Frenk at Durham University, working with the Virgo Consortium, now has data suggesting that our understanding of the formation and composition of the Universe is incomplete.