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I Dark Matter and who will discover it first?

  1. Jun 12, 2017 #1
    While the subject has been talked about to death by many a researcher, who will discover the first dark matter scientific paper that will prove beyond theory that describes it in detail. The real discoverer will undoubtedly be the hero of physics, astrophysics, and cosmology and be awarded surely the Nobel Prize for science. Any notables that today seem on the cusp of it's discovery?

    My takes:
    Lisa Randall
    Richard Massey
    George Efstathiou

    Among others...
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 12, 2017 #2


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    The discoverers of dark matter particles will be groups of experimental physicists.
    There are many viable theoretical models of dark matter, and we need experimental results to figure out what we have in nature.

    Groups have a poor track record of getting Nobel Prizes. See the Higgs boson.

    Zwicky, Oort and Kapteyn would be potential Nobel Prize candidates (as first scientists to find evidence of dark matter), but they are dead. Vera Rubin was a candidate for a long time, but died in 2016. Kent Ford is still alive (86) but I would be surprised if he gets the prize.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2017
  4. Jun 12, 2017 #3
    Cusp of it's discovery? It's been more than 80 years since Fritz Zwicky first proposed the idea and the LHC just verified the stunning predictive accuracy of the standard particle physics model, so your optimism seems a tad premature. :)
  5. Jun 13, 2017 #4
    I hate to disappoint you (us), but as of now there is (almost?) zero experimental evidence of DM. LUX experiment, at its maximum sensitivity (for now), failed (last summer) to detect even one single particle of Dark Matter:

    I think there will be a new LUX (possibly with even higher sensitivity), and I am not aware of the progress on the subject ever since.
    But what happens if they still discover nothing? What will be the fate of Dark Matter then? Experiment is the ultimate judge of theories ...
  6. Aug 8, 2017 #5
    It was only last summer when the high resolution LUX experiment failed to detect WIMP's of dark matter. This year (last May) XENON1T beats LUX in sensitivity but still did not detect any dark matter candidate:


    For the results see directly the original paper (reports consistent with background only):

    First Dark Matter Search Results from the XENON1T Experiment.

    From what I heard, a new hope now could rely on the follow-up project of LUX, the LUX-ZEPLIN, with its colossal detector size (around 90 times more sensitive than LUX).
    Failing of that also ("knock on wood" ... !?) however won't bode well for anyone getting a nobel prize (for Dark Matter), or for the future of Dark Matter itself! ...

    I guess we'll find out.
  7. Aug 8, 2017 #6


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    The XENON1T result was based on a single month of data-taking, they'll improve that limit quickly.
    LUX-ZEPLIN (2020+) and XENONnT (2019-2020+) will both improve it again. DARWIN aims for a start 2023, and it will either find dark matter or improve the exclusion limits to the neutrino background.
    Currently the experiments double the sensitivity roughly every year. I wrote a bit more about the searches in this Insights article.
  8. Aug 8, 2017 #7
  9. Aug 8, 2017 #8


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    There is no evidence of dark matter particles that interact via any of the three Standard Model forces (electromagnetic, weak, strong) over a mass range that extends from at least 1 GeV to 1000 GeV based upon direct dark matter detection experiments and the LHC. Moreover, astronomy observations strongly disfavor heavier dark matter candidates. And, collisionless cold dark matter is also pretty strongly disfavored with a possible exception in the keV mass range.

    There is a constant flood of new astronomy observations that continue to tighten (and indeed come close to overconstraining) the parameter space for dark matter, but we can be reasonably confident that direct detection of dark matter is not going to happen any time in the next thirty year or more, if ever. Dark matter makes neutrinos look like bulls in China shops.
  10. Aug 8, 2017 #9


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    What exactly rules out a possible discovery by XENON1T and its follow-up experiments?
  11. Aug 9, 2017 #10
    It is necessary for this (below) timetable etc. to be followed first, before anyone can conclude anything ... :
    Unless something else conclusive happens before then to prove, disprove or totally reject DM etc.

    In the meantime, I'm anxious waiting for those experiments and results! ...

    I am not aware, ... other than what you cited.
  12. Aug 9, 2017 #11


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    Some of sub-GeV mass range is also excluded by direct searches at the LHC. The latest LHC results even strictly limit Higgs channel dark matter candidates.

    Equally important, if the kind of dark matter that these direct dark matter detection experiments are looking for exists, it would behave in a very particular way that would be reflected in its behavior that can be indirectly observed with astronomy observations such as rotation curve and lensing measurements of inferred dark matter halos. The behavior of the kind of dark matter sought is also the single most well modeled scenario in N-body simulations of dark matter.

    For example, generically, dark matter of the kind that could could be found by XENO1T and its follow-up experiments would generate the wrong shaped/wrong density distribution halos (something that baryonic feedback mediated only by gravity and weaker than neutrino weak force interactions can't alleviate), would not be able to reconcile measurements based upon rotation curves and those based upon lensing, would not track baryonic matter distributions as tightly as observation indicates, would not generate particle velocities sufficient to give rise to the number of observed high velocity galactic cluster systems of which the Bullet Cluster is an example, and would generate more small scale structure (such as satellite galaxies) than is observed by astronomers.

    Some of these problems are summarized in a literature review supported by references from this preprint (references fully described in end notes in the original, paragraph breaks inserted for ease of reading in this non-typeset format):

    (At the large scale structure/CMB/lamda CDM scale, the Standard Model of Cosmology is insensitive to the details of dark matter particle properties from wark dark matter in the roughly keV scale all of the way up to brown dwarf sized MACHOs and stellar black holes, so long as it is very nearly collisionless.)

    The noise created by the neutrino background which currently can't be effectively filtered out, undermines the methodology of these experiments long before they have enough resolution to detect warm dark matter that might behave differently in the respects described above.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
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