Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dark Matter

For a science fiction author each new scientific discovery is like waving a piece of candy in front of a child.
We thrive on science but we never stop at just a new principle, we can't resist the temptation to ask the question, “What if?” What if a new discovery was tweaked just a little? What if the person who discovered it didn't interpret it properly? What if a discovery combined with others resulted in an entirely new principle?
One of my favorite programs on the Science Channel is “Through the Wormhole” (narrated by Morgan Freeman). I recently viewed an episode on “Dark Matter”.
Fascinating stuff, (“dark matter”) it's invisible but is attracted by gravity just as regular matter is supposedly attracted by gravity. Truly meat and potatoes for sci-fi authors.
So I thought about it, and it didn't make sense. Why should something we can't measure, can't see with our sophisticated instruments, nor hold in our hands, have gravity? And gravity is a must for dark matter because it holds the universe together. Coupled with dark matter is “dark energy” this force is causing our universe to expand and actually accelerate.
Dark matter is theorized to constitute 95 percent of the entire matter in the universe, 95 percent! Visible matter, the matter that comprises you and me is only 5 percent of the universe. In addition, dark matter permeates all matter and is prevalent when normal matter congregates together. That means our bodies are filled with dark matter.
Here it comes: WHAT IF?
What if normal matter does not have gravity as a property? What if the only matter with the gravitational property is dark matter? Your body is composed of 95 percent dark matter. What if your weight, your manifestation of gravity, is the weight of the dark matter, not the normal matter. No one would ever be able to tell. What if dark matter was a matrix that held the normal matter together and accompanied it at all times? Normal matter would appear to have gravity because the dark matter was clumped around it.
So what does this mean? Well for one thing it means that the people at CERN are wasting their time in the hunt for the Higgs Boson (the theoretical gravitation particle). They'll never find it because it doesn't exist in normal matter.
In addition, maybe the “theory of everything” stops at three fundamental forces and maybe Einstein's General Theory of Relativity must bend under the weight of dark matter.
Maybe there's not four fundamental forces maybe gravity and the strong and weak nuclear forces are a property of dark matter.
Could quantum principles be more a property of dark matter than regular matter?
The list goes on...
“What if” science fiction has driven our technology for a long time. We walk around with Star Trek communicators tucked in our pockets, Hal already exists, and “I Robot” is lurking just around the corner. The global network and it's viruses, were predicted by science fiction over 40 years ago by John Brunner and one day we may be able to store our minds in the net.
So, what's next?
I love “what if”...

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