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What is the basis for the theory that WIMPs could be detected by

  1. Jan 18, 2012 #1
    What is the basis for the theory that WIMPs could be detected by seeing a vibration in the atomic nucleus of normal matter? If they (all) really do interact so weakly, why do scientist think they might be able to detect just a few??

    an explanation in layman's terms would be great. thanks?
     
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  3. Jan 18, 2012 #2

    mathman

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    Re: WIMPs

    In simplest terms, as WIMPS pass through matter, they may collide with something. The event is very rare, since matter is mostly empty space.
     
  4. Jan 18, 2012 #3

    phyzguy

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    Re: WIMPs

    WIMPs are Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, not Non Interacting Massive Particles. Although the interaction is weak, it is not zero, so occasionally they collide with an atomic nucleus.
     
  5. Jan 18, 2012 #4
    Re: WIMPs

    blah! the more i try to read about wimps and weak force (which i don't really understand), the more i get confused. so wimps could also be referred to as iimps (infrequently interacting massive particles)? and since they "may collide" does that mean if it happens, it is only by chance (rather than a purposeful interaction)? if so,then how is it at all an "interacting" particle? hence, my original question. also, i do understand that they are a hypothetical particle, but i'm not finding that fact useful at this point.

    clearly i am way in over my head; i don't have any formal training in physics. it's just a frivolous hobby and i'm struggling to wrap my head around this one.
     
  6. Jan 18, 2012 #5
    Re: WIMPs

    i also do not have a clear understanding of a WIMPs function.
     
  7. Jan 18, 2012 #6

    phyzguy

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    Re: WIMPs

    Yes. All interactions at the level of elementary particles are 'only by chance'. Our fundamental theory of particle interactions, known as quantum mechanics, can only predict the probability of an interaction, and most physicists believe that this is all we will ever be able to predict. Try looking up 'Rutherford Scattering' (when Wikipedia comes back on line). Rutherford shot alpha particles at a gold foil and found that some of the particles went straight through the foil, and others were scattered at various angles.
     
  8. Jan 18, 2012 #7

    phinds

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    Re: WIMPs

    Think about a civil war battlefield with tens of thousand of soldiers on both sides all shooting at each other. On RARE occasions, two bullets would actually hit each other and there have even been a couple of documented cases (I am sure I recall) of bullets fused to each other and found later (MUCH later) on the battlefield. It's a crude analogy but reasonable.

    I like your "IMPS" designation.
     
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