I’m a cosmology geek. I could blame it on hanging out with topological mathematicians in my second round of university, but I’d be lying. It’s far older than that.
It's a Quantum Universe
The universe is being very uncooperative these days. It continues to hide its most fundamental secrets from us. This drove Newton, Einstein, and still drives a whole bunch of really smart people to distraction. Many people might care less I guess. Cosmology may be a more singular perversion than most. A Theory of Everything can be as troubling as the poem, the words of the song, or the storyteller’s voice in the firelight.
An initial joyous chorus of astronomic “Eureka” is often silenced by the facts of Life. This is Good News which Sir Isaac and Albert would both attest to in spite of their resultant angst over such weighty matters.
The Tragic Greek Chorus Answers
If you watch even an occasional science show today, you’ve heard all about the miracle structure of stars, black holes, galaxies, and the confused state of our visible “known” universe. It does make pretty, fun, and interesting TV.
Stephen Hawking may publically attest we’ve got it figured out and have no further need of His inspiration. He’s not the first and won’t be the last to be wrong in spite of being right.
Fast Forward to Yesterday
For about a decade it was decided there has to be Dark Matter that must bind the structure of galaxies, groups of galaxies, and the entire universe itself together. The math says this invisible, almost immeasurable stuff must make up over 80%+ of the mass of the universe otherwise galaxies wouldn’t spin, the math won’t work, and the universe would simply fall apart - A very untidy thought. Where’s His Majesty in that?
But Dick Clark Died
OMG We can’t celebrate New Year’s anymore! Did the Mayans get it right? Oh No Mr. Bill! There’s a volcano erupting in Mexico. People are telling me it all starts with a small crack.
A Ground Breaking Discovery
A group of Chilean astronomers announced this last week (after a long rigorous study) there is not enough local Dark Matter hanging around our Sun. They measured the physical effects of what Dark Matter should do in thousands of star systems similar to our own. The math says they should find kilos of the stuff. Their results found less than grams of the stuff. Sounds like a drug deal gone bad.
But Levon Helm Died Too
The Weight cannot ever be the same. Maybe we are up a creek and it is just another whistle stop. All the strange connections of the week do appear to Band together. Isn’t that guy facing judgment in Florida named Zimmerman too? Maybe any day now, we shall be released?
It’s true. The courageous astronomers may have messed up in the measuring, the math, or the initial assumptions of their experiments in the first place.
It’s not like these types of error haven’t happened before in the community - Why we retest and review stuff. That is unless we mostly all agree the facts are otherwise.
If these results turn out to be true and verifiable, we’ll have to give up on our somewhat suspicious modern version of the 19th century’s ether.
Sir Arthur’s Professor Challenger would be quite proud or pissed depending on how you think he’d see the resultant Lost Worlds quandary. I say, “Watson, the game is afoot.”
The question is,
“How could anyone expect the Dark to be evenly distributed in the first place?”
Oh yeah. I forgot.
They’re staring at the computer screen, pondering columns of numbers, applying Poisson thinking, and not looking out the window at a universe ruled by patterns and power laws. Then It Bursts on me and begs the question,
“How is safe science like safe sex?”
On further reflection on Zimmerman it disturbs me somewhat more that Poisson actually did his original work on distributions on jury size and trial results. He chose to study judgments of man and not to French kiss frequency I suppose for reasons of proprietary access to the information of French courts.
I’m glad the astronomers did their hard work on top of the mountain. Really and truly I am. It’s Way Cool.
Now maybe we’ll get back to seeking out the fundamental structures of spacetime which is more than enough to scratch our physically and mentally concussed heads over. Anyway all this stuff certainly gives us something more important to consider on Earth Day.