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CERN Physicist Says Dark Matter May Be an Illusion

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the lunch-dark-matter-doubly-so dept.

Math 379

anonymousNR writes "A CERN physicist has a new theory explaining the rotational curves of galaxies. 'The key message of my paper is that dark matter may not exist and that phenomena attributed to dark matter may be explained by the gravitational polarization of the quantum vacuum,' Hajdukovic told PhysOrg.com. 'The future experiments and observations will reveal if my results are only (surprising) numerical coincidences or an embryo of a new scientific revolution.' Given the many theories around explaining various observations in recent times, there seems to be a breakthrough on its way in our understanding of the cosmos."

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Quantum (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37081924)

frist post

Re:Quantum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37081982)

It's amazing that saddos are still doing that in 2011, really.

Re:Quantum (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082012)

It was quantum - he did it in Sept 97 and it showed here at the same time.

haters (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082192)

gonna hate.

Gravitational polarization of the quantum vacuum (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37081936)

That's what I have been saying all along...

Re:Gravitational polarization of the quantum vacuu (0)

egr (932620) | more than 3 years ago | (#37081954)

I totally believe you...

Re:Gravitational polarization of the quantum vacuu (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082342)

ANY explanation of the "missing matter" is perfectly worth considering... anything at all, oh yeah as long as it doesn't involve the electric force, you know that other long-range force matter possesses that's 36 orders of magnitude stronger than gravity thus wouldn't need "missing mass" to explain anything...

Astrophysics is maddening to watch. They make assumptions like "redshift = distance and could never ever be intrinsic even though we find lots of low-redshift spiral galaxies physically connected to high-redshift quasars, meaning those quasars aren't really far away after all, meaning they aren't mega-bright after all" and then no matter what, no matter how many "surprises" and "startling info" they find they never EVER question and start rejecting any of those assumptions.

If engineers operated this way airplanes would randomly fall out of the sky every day and when you drove over a bridge you'd have no idea if it would collapse. You hate EU theory that's fine but just tell me what other science calls itself rigorous and gets to make shit up at whim, gets to make ad-hoc patches to falsified theories instead of rejecting them for better, simpler, more straightfoward theories according to Occam's Razor, and then gets to proclaim these explanations as though they were established fact.

Re:Gravitational polarization of the quantum vacuu (1)

tragedy (27079) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082428)

"Electric Universe" theorist I take it? Or is it "Plasma Cosmology" now?

if you can't see it, it doesn't exist... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37081942)

... finally someone bright! :-D

Re:if you can't see it, it doesn't exist... (-1, Troll)

SquirrelDeth (1972694) | more than 3 years ago | (#37081996)

I can't see my anus. So if my anus doesn't exist where does the poop come from? Maybe there is some quantum gravitational brown hole back there that periodically reaches into the 83rd dimension (it's the brown dimension). I would ramble on but you sir are an idiot and I have slightly better things I could do.

Re:if you can't see it, it doesn't exist... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082108)

Squat over a mirror and you'll see it.

I can't decide if you are really stupid or being a troll but I'll risk wasting a little of my time and rephrase the title.

If you can't detect it, it doesn't exist.

Re:if you can't see it, it doesn't exist... (2)

Goaway (82658) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082190)

You can detect dark matter. If it exists, we have already indirectly detected it. We have not yet directly detected it, but that is not because it not possible to do so, just that we have not succeeded yet. We are currently trying to do so.

Re:if you can't see it, it doesn't exist... (2)

tolkienfan (892463) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082216)

But that's just an assertion. It may not exist. It's currently our best way of explaining certain phenomena, but there may be a better explanation coming. It's far from "detection"

Re:if you can't see it, it doesn't exist... (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082374)

You can detect dark matter. If it exists, we have already indirectly detected it. We have not yet directly detected it, but that is not because it not possible to do so, just that we have not succeeded yet. We are currently trying to do so.

Using similar methods, there was a time when you could "detect" epicycles, too. Like dark matter they were a theoretical fudge factor designed to prevent a cherished theory from falling apart due to its lack of successful predictions and explanatory power. In the case of epicycles, the cherished theory was geocentrism. You would have been ridiculed extensively (and quite possibly be in danger of the Inquisition) for questioning it, not because your own theory wasn't viable or couldn't also explain the observed results but because "everybody knew" how "well-established it is" that the earth is the center of the solar system...

If they teach scientists about the history of these things as part of their normal training, they don't do a very good job. At all.

Re:if you can't see it, it doesn't exist... (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082296)

Yes. It doesn't exist because we currently can't detect it! I know this because I said so.

Re:if you can't see it, it doesn't exist... (0)

buckeyeguy (525140) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082150)

Clearly a problem of relativity. While you may not be able to see your anus, your doctor can, and as he shoves his gloved fist up into the brown dimension the observed properties vary with the distance and speed that his fist travels. QED.

Re:if you can't see it, it doesn't exist... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082214)

Dude, when the subject is dark matter, I do not want to talk about your anus, ok? Let's just not go there.

no dark matter... (4, Insightful)

ak_hepcat (468765) | more than 3 years ago | (#37081960)

I hope so. Dark matter is the ugliest kludge to the standard model ever.

It's worse than the Plus upgrade for Windows 98.

Re:no dark matter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37081978)

Yeah but not as bad as the ME or Vista core versions. ;)

Re:no dark matter... (0)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082042)

Dark matter is the ugliest kludge to the standard model ever.

So, an ugly kludge on an ugly kludge then?

Re:no dark matter... (2, Insightful)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082056)

Agreed. I have always had a hard time stomaching the theory that dark matter and dark energy exist. It seems far too much like aether, i.e. something made up to fill a gap in knowledge without much evidence backing it up. "Look, my equations don't work out in every situation. EUREKA! If I just make some shit up like say, invisible matter that doesn't interact with other matter except through gravity, I can make my equations work!". I think its probably that the equations are based on more special cases. Think of the difference between Newtonian and Relativistic models. One works on planetary scale, the other on the level of star systems and near galactic scale, but now we find out our current model doesn't work in every situation such as quantum scale (yes, they've know that for awhile), or on super macro-scale. It must be that the model needs additional generalization rather than inventing magic stuff.

Re:no dark matter... (-1, Troll)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082202)

It is refreshing to see some people on Slashdot suggest that science just fills gaps with unsubstantiated assumptions sometimes instead of just complaining about organized religion doing that, as if it's exclusive.

Re:no dark matter... (3, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082210)

Scientists are convinced otherwise when evidence becomes available, and usually base their assumptions on factual information. Religions do not.

Re:no dark matter... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082252)

Some have suggested that maths are being created to substantiate disparities between models and 'dark matter', unobservable alternate universes, other theoretical matter/anti-... are the result. I'm not saying they are right, it's easy to say nay, but it is worth consideration.
 
  Never underestimate hubris, especially at genius level.

Re:no dark matter... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082302)

Scientists SHOULD BE convinced otherwise when evidence becomes available, and 8/10 times base their assumptions on factual information. Religions do both to a much lesser extent.

Fixed.

There are plenty of scientists out there with pet theories that they will fight for to the bitter end.

Re:no dark matter... (1, Insightful)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082432)

At least they have the capacity to understand when they are wrong. Go to a fundamentalist church group some time and tell me you really think they are more capable of understanding when they are wrong.

Re:no dark matter... (1, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082386)

The difference is that scientists embrace the whole idea of proving themselves wrong, and are willing to walk away from obviously nonsensical explanations for things. Religious people instst on sticking with their obviously nonsensical explanations, and all of the hideous moral baggage that goes with doing so.

Re:no dark matter... (0)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082396)

Both science and religion are the work of human beings, who sometimes aren't as intellectually honest as we'd all like to pretend. Big surprise. But science has a proven (if cumbersome) process for correcting mistakes and moving forward, while classical religions do not.

When a distinguished scientist admits he was wrong, people make fun of him at the next conference and then everybody moves on. When the Pope admits he was wrong, it undermines his entire role in human culture, so he hardly ever does.

Re:no dark matter... (4, Interesting)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082422)

Uhh, well. Scientists never actually claim to "know" the truth about anything completely, they just claim to know "an approximation of the truth" which is a theory or axiom that has been tested and shown to work in every case its been tested in so far. People still continue to test it and find it works. GPS satellites would not work if Relativity was not mostly correct. Don't get confused with the word "approximation of truth", it doesn't mean its not correct to a degree. There is no absolute right and absolute wrong.

The principal of science is that you seek truth through observable, repeatable experiments. We know gravity exists on Earth because every time we throw a rock in the air it falls back to the ground. If one day, it did not fall back to the ground, or it fell to the ground 50 percent of the time and the other 50 percent of the time it flew off into space; we would probably not believe gravity existed and instead either have worked on or be working on other explanations. For example, Relativity has passed just about every test its been put through except for things on quantum scale or on super-massive scale. Does this mean it is wrong? No. It means that it is right in certain situations, but not in others. If you know anything about mathematics, which is totally based in rigorously proved logic that is basically irrefutable once its axioms and assumptions are cemented, you will realize that sometimes its possible to be correct within a certain degree or domain but incorrect beyond it.

Its a bit different to claim many of the things religions claim. For example, claiming a flood wiped out all humans on Earth except for Noah, his sons, and all of their spouses along with two of each animal is ludicrous. The fossil record shows absolutely no evidence of this and a global flood poses other physical questions that have completely unfeasible explanations, and its been proven so if you actually read about scientific topics such as genetics, biology, anthropology, paleontology, and physics/geophysics/meteorology (particularly atmospheric pressure). They don't specifically say that the flood didn't happen, nor do they attack it. They just show certain timelines for fossils, or certain geological strata or certain physical relationships (in the form of equations) that make something like a global flood seem ridiculous. Maybe it happened on a smaller scale, but your will find its absurd to think it happened over the whole earth.

You see, religions claim to "know" things and require absolutely no proof at all other than faith; which is belief without evidence. They won't admit when they are wrong even in the face of overwhelming evidence against their belief. That's not to say scientists don't believe things too and sometimes be stubborn about changing them, its just that religions don't believe things based on logic and evidence whatsoever. Even scientists are humans, and make errors sometimes. However, their training helps them remove illogical or absurd things from their minds rather than hold on to them when overwhelming evidence is put in their face. I don't think that religious fanatics are incapable of being as smart as scientists, I just think many of them are brainwashed or undereducated.

Does all of this mean God doesn't exist? No. Its just that there is no evidence of them existing, nor is there necessarily a reason they must exist. I for one am not sure. I admit it is possible, but I have not seen evidence to support it nor do I see a theory that holds up when tested that shows there must be one. Some people choose to believe there is no God, some people believe there probably is, and some people simply don't know. Whatever you believe is what you believe, but please don't assume that scientists are out to get you, or make you change, or disprove god. By definition the existence of God couldn't be proved anyway, since even if we "found God", how do you know its not just a super-advanced alien being? Even if their is an afterlife you won't truly know if God exists because for all you know, there is some physical explanation for a "soul" and the Universe just happens to have an afterlife.

More often than not, Scientists are just like everyone else. They are trying to look for "truth" and using a slightly better way of doing it. Its the best way we have in spite of the flaws in Human beings.

Re:no dark matter... (2)

Theovon (109752) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082338)

On the other hand, it doesn't seem like TOO much of a stretch to imagine that there may be massive particles that interact only through gravity and the weak nuclear force.

Re:no dark matter... (2)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082484)

I will admit its not totally unfeasible. I have to if I am to be intellectually honest. However, to me it seems like a taller order to prove there are these particles than to just assume the model doesn't fit every situation since its not complete and does not adjust itself to every situation. Their could be an infinite amount of other explanations for the phenomena rather than just inventing some particle. As a matter of fact, Godel proved that no finite set of axioms can capture all of mathematical truth. This is sort of controversial when applied to the Universe and physics, because axioms are based on assumptions about things rather than proved (but the existence of gravity and other things relies on axioms), and the knowable Universe could possibly have a finite set of axioms that explain all of its phenomena. However, I think the lesson in the theory of Godel is that you cannot ever possibly know everything. You can just keep making a larger and larger set of axioms to encompass the truth. It happened with Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Einstein and (All the dudes that came up with Quantum theory like Boltzman, Planck, Rutherford, Schrodinger etc.). Each step gives us more information about the Universe, but it will never be complete.

Re:no dark matter... (4, Interesting)

elistan (578864) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082438)

I'm no cosmologist, but my understand is that there IS direct evidence of dark matter [universetoday.com] - in the way galaxies collide. Normal matter collides because it interacts through EM and hence slows down, while dark matter doesn't and doesn't. This can be seen by comparing X-ray imaging to map the normal matter and gravitational lensing to map the dark matter.

Re:no dark matter... (3, Funny)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082172)

I hope so. Dark matter is the ugliest kludge to the standard model ever.

It's worse than the Plus upgrade for Windows 98.

I've long thought that the concept of dark matter was a manifestation of the inability of some scientists to admit "Hell, I don't know".

Re:no dark matter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082222)

Dark matter is composed of Antiknowledge, which is also the medium for Dark energy

Re:no dark matter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082306)

"Hell, I don't know" doesn't provide any useful information for equations.

Re:no dark matter... (2)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082478)

Or more importantly, grounds for raising additional research grants...

Re:no dark matter... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082294)

Seconded. But for "dark energy" too.

The problem with them both is, that:
Scientists 1: Hey, our measurements don't match your theories.
Scientists 2: Then your measurements are wrong! Our theories can't possibly be wrong!
Scientists 3-5: Their measurements are correct.
Scientists 2: You're all wrong! There must be something you all overlooked! I postulate a "dark matter" and a "dark" energy! And I'm gonna find it, even if it's the last thing I'll do!!

It's a horrible example of unscientific [tinypic.com] ignorance and arrogance usually only reserved for religion.

Now normally, everybody would laugh at Scientists 2, and tell them to hand in their "scientist card". The real problem is, that apparently Scientists 2 were >10% of the community, and so secure in themselves, that most others bought into them with the help of massive "appeal to authority [wikipedia.org] ".

So as so very often, I can conclude:
Without the spineless followers / Milgram effect [wikipedia.org] , this would never have happened.

Re:no dark matter... (3, Interesting)

IICV (652597) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082388)

I'd love to see how his model explains something like (e.g) the Bullet Cluster [wikipedia.org] , because quite frankly I don't think it does - the article states that his theory explains the speeding up of galactic rotation (the reason why we first hypothesized dark matter), but the article goes on to state that his hypothesis doesn't actually cover a ton of other stuff like the CMB.

Furthermore, this theory is based on the hypothesis that matter and antimatter are gravitationally repulsive, which (imo) is absolute BS. It's true, we haven't generated enough antimatter yet to know for a fact that it acts the same way as regular matter in a gravitational field generated by regular matter, but we have absolutely no reason to think that it would be gravitationally repulsive. If that turns out to be true, there will need to be a shit-ton of rejiggering of models and basically everything we think we know about physics will have to be moved around.

Basically, he's said "If pigs can levitate, then I can account for the discrepancy in galactic rotation curves without dark matter" - except if pigs can levitate, we'll need to rethink everything anyway.

No more ether? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37081968)

I've always felt something was a little iffy about dark matter/energy, kind of like how people used to thing space was filled with ether. Maybe this is a step in the right direction.

Comedy Gold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37081970)

Just the title, without reading the article, is pretty hilarious i think; especially in the context of people arguing whether experimental particle physics beyond the standard model is worth funding. I mean, come on!

Yay for phlogiston and aether (3, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#37081976)

Yay for phlogiston [wikipedia.org] and aether [wikipedia.org] . Dark matter might end up on the list of ideas that physcists turned to in order to explain things that had other explanations. La plus ca change...

Re:Yay for phlogiston and aether (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082024)

>>Yay for phlogiston and aether. Dark matter might end up on the list of ideas that physcists turned to in order to explain things that had other explanations. La plus ca change...

And yet we're back to something like aether with relativity and string theory. Relativity says that empty space has a structure, and string theory says empty space is made up of a lattice of vibrating strings that propagates everything in the universe.

Re:Yay for phlogiston and aether (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082032)

The problem is human thinking. We divide existence into two arbitrary categories called "something" and "nothing," but nobody told the universe.

Re:Yay for phlogiston and aether (2)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082082)

Not exactly. At least we can predict certain behaviors using Relativity that enable satellites to work properly as well as a whole slew of other physical behaviors that enable our modern technology to work. If we didn't adjust GPS satellites using relativity they would not work at all. I would wager similar usefulness did not come out of the theory of aether but I am willing to admit I am wrong if you can present evidence to the contrary.

Re:Yay for phlogiston and aether (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082186)

Look up Tesla's little black box in am electric car.

Re:Yay for phlogiston and aether (0)

medcalf (68293) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082050)

Loved your post, phlogiston being a topic I studied in history of science, but your sig needs work. Not only is "whom" still a useful word, but the phrase is "intents and purposes," not "intensive purposes." Gah! An now I'm correcting language on the Internet!

Re:Yay for phlogiston and aether (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082072)

You may have missed the point of his sig.

Re:Yay for phlogiston and aether (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082078)

Gah! An now I'm correcting language on the Internet!

I think you'll soon realize you corrected a .sig with so many usage errors it has to be intentional.

Re:Yay for phlogiston and aether (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082098)

your sig needs work. Not only is "whom" still a useful word, but the phrase is "intents and purposes," not "intensive purposes."

WHOOSH!

PS: you forgot to correct the misuse of the phrase "begs the question."

Re:Yay for phlogiston and aether (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082064)

Nowadays we like to call the Aether the "Higgs Particle".

And it's "intents and purposes", not "intensive purposes".

Re:Yay for phlogiston and aether (4, Insightful)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082074)

Hopefully. Dark matter is a very inelegant solution to observations that don't agree with theory. Even so, working out what properties it must have, should it exist, is a useful exercise because it clarifies the problem more thoroughly.

There seems to be a common misconception that incorrect theories were stupid ideas from the get-go. That's really not the case, until new evidence or new ideas come up the incorrect theories are every bit as valid as the ones that may turn out to be correct and the differences between the various competing theories may point the way to interesting new experiments.

This new theory is probably wrong, but it's founded on an assumption that, while not currently accepted as true, is experimentally verifiable. That's the assumption that anti-matter and matter have gravitation fields of opposite sign. An experiment to determined the truth of that would be very interesting.

Re:Yay for phlogiston and aether (3, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082498)

Exactly. It was the development of the theory of the aether that led to many of the experiments surrounding the properties of light that allowed the theory of relativity to be developed. For instance, we knew if aether existed it would create a "wind" that would slow light in some directions as the earth moved. The experiment to test that wind helped found the theory of relativity (although, interestingly enough, Einstein supposedly hadn't heard of the experiment when he postulated the constancy of the speed of light.)

Aether was by no means a stupid theory, but it required a number of new properties previously unseen in material bodies, and it was theorized solely as a kludge to explain the motion of light through a vacuum. The analogy with dark matter is quite strong. Dark matter, too, has never been observed, and possesses properties of matter previous unseen or indeed thought impossible, and exists solely to bridge a gap between our model of how things should behave, and how things actually behave. This does not bode well for it. However, the experiment to test for its existence is quite likely to lead to something interesting, even if we have no idea what.

Re:Yay for phlogiston and aether (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082080)

But tragically, this time it wasn't even remotely Latin-sounding. Oh, how the times have changed for us poor misbegotten students of scientific nomenclature...

Can't see the quantum vacuum for the dark matter? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082102)

Dark matter might end up on the list of ideas that physcists turned to in order to explain things that had other explanations.

What really surprises me is, despite this, so many physicists have jumped on the bandwagon. Average Slashdotters have been more skeptical of they dark matter theory than physicists, from what I've seen.

"It's invisible, we have no idea what it looks like, we can't detect it, but it must be there because we have no other ideas." Exactly the same mistake as the theories you point out.

Does the scientific process require this, though - a decade or more of odd beliefs to spur the more rational scientists to actually figure it out? Do bad beliefs provide a framework for further study and building?

Re:Can't see the quantum vacuum for the dark matte (5, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082200)

What really surprises me is, despite this, so many physicists have jumped on the bandwagon.

This is because it is the simplest theory which fits available data. There are simpler theories, but they do not fit available data, and thus are of little value.

Average Slashdotters have been more skeptical of they dark matter theory than physicists, from what I've seen.

This is because average Slashdotters do not have even the beginnings of a clue about astrophysics, but think they are expert at every subject they ever heard mentioned on the internet.

Re:Can't see the quantum vacuum for the dark matte (2)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082320)

Dark matter isn't undetectable, it's just difficult to detect because it doesn't interact with normal matter much. There's experiments, such as the cryonic dark matter search, underway attempting to detect it.

Re:Can't see the quantum vacuum for the dark matte (2)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082392)

So what's your idea? Given that the observed behaviour of the universe is inconsistent with what we expect, there are basically two possibilities:

1) Our understanding of gravity is wrong.
2) Our understanding of the matter in the universe is wrong.

Despite lots of effort, nobody has come up with a satisfactory theory of gravity which fixes the problem. And a new theory to fix the problem is not really more satisfactory in itself than a new type of matter - they both would be fudges to fit the data until some independent test came along. And it's not as if the scientists said "it must be dark matter, right, problem solved", there are active efforts to determine dark matter's characteristics and independently test for it.

There's been talk about phlogiston, but what about the neutrino? When the energy of electrons from beta decays didn't appear consistent with known laws of physics, someone (Pauli IIRC) said "there must be a new particle that we (so far) can't detect, which has properties X, Y and Z"... not unlike dark matter. And lo and behold, he was right.

Re:Can't see the quantum vacuum for the dark matte (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082450)

They've "jumped on the bandwagon" so to speak, because General Relativity explains everything else really fucking well, so we have a choice when we observe the anomalies; rewrite the entire rulebook, except we don't know how to, or postulate some form of matter that isn't *directly* observable (you know, sort of how like electrons aren't directly observable), and try to explain what it is. Maybe the latter is a fool's errand, but to throw out one of the most successful theories in history because the large-scale structure isn't quite what we expected would seem premature. At the moment, dark matter is the most parsimonious explanation for the data we have.

Anyways, this theory is even worse than dark matter, pulling matter-antimatter repulsion out of thin air to explain some of the observations that currently explained by dark matter, but pretty much being incapable of explaining other observations that are currently explained by dark matter. As another poster said, the idea that antimatter has an opposite gravitational polarity would suggest far more earth-shattering problems with modern physics than dark matter.

Re:Yay for phlogiston and aether (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082204)

If Aether doesn't exist then what's in all that cat5 cable? Admin tears?

Re:Yay for phlogiston and aether (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082238)

Well, that's how science works. You take a theory and as long as you have more things in favor of it than contradicting things, it has merit, at least until you have a better theory with fewer (or no) contradiction that explains nature better.

But looking at the two examples you present, maybe we should be more open minded when approaching science in general. I'm pretty sure both, phlogiston and aether, caused a lot of people to research into the wrong direction because they were considered solid theories. Some ideas may be outlandish and will almost invariably prove to be wrong, but the more harebrained ones can easily be debunked, what's left should be considered a possibility until better theories surface.

Sadly, pet-theories have somehow become a religion for some people who'll defend them with teeth and claws until there is no chance to anymore. Think Einstein and his rejection of the expanding universe, even though his own theory contradicted the steady-state one he would have preferred.

Re:Yay for phlogiston and aether (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082444)

IIRC, phlogiston was one of the theories that lead to the atomic theory. In fact I seem to recall the Priestly (Lavoisier?) first called Oxygen "de-phlogistonated air" or some such. It was wrong, but a vital step along the way to a better theory.

Re:Yay for phlogiston and aether (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082454)

This is the first time I've heard General Relativity referred to as a "pet theory".

Good Luch (0)

Froeschle (943753) | more than 3 years ago | (#37081980)

I don't really understand much of anything you wrote, but if it was important to you to allow it to be subjected to Slashdot abuse then it must be worthy of at least some degree of attention.

Re:Good Luch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082138)

Yes, like the story about the printerless drivers, or the girl that was raped and murdered in 1990. Internet news sites totally determine what is worth and what not.

Duh, (1)

glorybe (946151) | more than 3 years ago | (#37081986)

Maybe I missed that course. What the heck is a quantum vacuum? Does it work better than a Kirby?

Re:Duh, (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082016)

Well it does and it doesn't, it depends.

Re:Duh, (2)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082122)

Quick and dirty:

if something "comes and goes" on a quantum level, faster than the universe can usefully notice, and it doesn't violate any of the "conservation (energy, momentum, information (maybe), ...) laws", then it is permitted. In this case, if a positron/electron pair are spontaneously emitted from "empty" space, very, very quickly their opposite charge will attract them to each other and they will annihilate each other paying back the energy that it took to create them, so there's no "law" violated.

The guys hypothesis rests on anti-matter having an opposite gravitational "charge" to "ordinary" matter. In the presence of a galaxy-size gravitational field, there could be a bias for the electron to be nearer to it than the positron, and given the very large amount of space around a galaxy, the average bias to have the gravity field directional could be enough to account for the rotational energy excess of a typical galaxy.

Re:Duh, (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082278)

> if something "comes and goes" on a quantum level, faster than the universe can usefully notice,

That's a relatively good explanation but I would change "faster than the universe can usefully notice" to "because the physical universe/reality is digital (Time & Space have been quantized) then something can exists at a higher frequency and not break any physical laws."

Fenyman hinted at this when he said there really is only 1 particle. It is moving so fast that it only spends a fraction of its "lifetime" in the physical universe.

I always knew (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37081998)

that the appearance and interpretation of an accelerating universe may be
an observed distortion [alphaomegafoundation.org]

Gravity control by artificial quatum dipole polari (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082008)

According to the article, if quantum dipoles are polarized, then tney produce an additional gravity field.

Does this mean that if this can happen artificially, we can control gravity?

Re:Gravity control by artificial quatum dipole pol (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082058)

Yes and no. Until we see it happening, we won't know if we can or not.

Re:Gravity control by artificial quatum dipole pol (2)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082126)

Not exactly. The article states that physicists assume a positive charge for gravity throughout the universe. Hajdukovic, the guy that wrote the paper (I think), suggests that a negative charge exists, just like with electromagnetism. He suggests that matter produces positive gravity, and antimatter produces negative gravity. Here is an excerpt from http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-08-dark-illusion-quantum-vacuum.html [physorg.com] that explains it better than I.:

If matter and antimatter are gravitationally repulsive, then it would mean that the virtual particle-antiparticle pairs that exist for a limited time in the quantum vacuum are “gravitational dipoles.” That is, each pair forms a system in which the virtual particle has a positive gravitational charge, while the virtual antiparticle has a negative gravitational charge. In this scenario, the quantum vacuum contains many virtual gravitational dipoles, taking the form of a dipolar fluid.

“We can consider our universe as a union of two mutually interacting entities,” Hajdukovic said. “The first entity is our ‘normal’ matter (hence we do not assume the existence of dark matter and dark energy), immersed in the second entity, the quantum vacuum, considered as a sea of different kinds of virtual dipoles, including gravitational dipoles.”

He goes on to explain that the virtual gravitational dipoles in the quantum vacuum can be gravitationally polarized by the baryonic matter in nearby massive stars and galaxies. When the virtual dipoles align, they produce an additional gravitational field that can combine with the gravitational field produced by stars and galaxies. As such, the gravitationally polarized quantum vacuum could produce the same “speeding up” effect on the rotational curves of galaxies as either hypothetical dark matter or a modified law of gravity.

Basically what this means to me, is that the effect is on a super-massive scale and not easily manipulated by us without the technology to literally change things on super-massive scale.

Re:Gravity control by artificial quatum dipole pol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082284)

Have to post AC to avoid unmoderations, but I just wanted to point out that if a gravitational field can polarize particle anti-particle pairs, then an electric field can do it as well, because we know the spectrum of charged virtual particles. But his whole hypothesis relies on anti-matter having negative gravitational charge. That rewrites a whole lot more physics than dark matter does. In fact, I have trouble figuring out why the quantum vacuum doesn't produce real rather than virtual particles, since with negative gravitational charge the net energy of a real particle pair is nearly zero. But pointing out things like that to physicists is how I ended up an astronomer.

Don't be fooled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082038)

That's just what the Dark Matter wants us to think...

I already figured this out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082040)

Dark matter is simply normal matter in adjacent (inaccessible to us) dimensions. The force of gravity is able to travel between our 3 dimensions and the additional ones, but matter and energy cannot.

Re:I already figured this out. (1)

gomiam (587421) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082124)

Erm... gravity, as well as electromagnetism, decreases with the square of the distance. I would consider this a strong pointer to both being limited to three dimensions, as it is consistent with distributing the field over the surface of an sphere (for example).

Something is fishy (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082070)

The core explanation from TFA

He gives an example of a dielectric slab being inserted into a parallel plate capacitor, which results in a decrease in the electric field between the plates. The decrease is due to the fact that the electric charges of opposite sign attract each other. But if the electric charges of opposite sign were repulsive instead of attractive, then the electric field would increase. Back to the quantum vacuum scenario, since the gravitational charges of opposite sign are repulsive, the strength of the gravitational field increases.

If the gravitational charge of opposite signs are repulsive, it would mean that the "vacuum gravitational dipole" will have a tendency to separate into matter and antimatter.
As the antimatter is repulsed by the normal matter, wouldn't this require the introduction of another force (the "dark force"?) – that should be even stronger than the strong force – to explain how come we are not seeing flows of antimatter originating from the core of the galaxies?

Re:Something is fishy (4, Informative)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082144)

Electromagnetism is stronger than gravity. Given that the particles in question also have the opposite charge, and are therefore attracted electromagnetically, it wouldn't make a major difference to them.

Re:Something is fishy (1)

Mogster (459037) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082146)

As the antimatter is repulsed by the normal matter, wouldn't this require the introduction of another force (the "dark force"?) – that should be even stronger than the strong force – to explain how come we are not seeing flows of antimatter originating from the core of the galaxies?

Do not underestimate the dark side of the Force.

Re:Something is fishy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082312)

It does mean that neutral virtual particles with mass would tend to become real in a gravitational field before charged ones of the same mass. I don't know if that violates any current observations, but it seems quite odd.

Douglas Adams (2)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082140)

Time is an illusion. Dark matter doubly so.

hadju.. hajdu... hadju (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082182)

gonna work here anymore!!! amiright?

now, hows the war on terror going? how many muslims have we converted to christianity?

No, you need to polarize the deflector! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082184)

Oh, wait. Wrong meme. Sorry.

Ever notice (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082188)

Just how much physics and cosmology has come to resemble STTNG technobabel ?

Re:Ever notice (1)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082258)

That's because TNG technobabble gets an undeserved bad rap. Amidst the truly bad stuff like reversing polarity and tachyon beams, there's a lot of things with a real science basis.

Re:Ever notice (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082268)

Nothing a reverse tachyon impulse can't fix. How? Dunno, but there is effectively nothing a reverse tachyon impulse can't fix.

Re:Ever notice (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082400)

...and I say "bounce the graviton particle beam
off the main deflector dish"
That's the way we do things, lads
Just making shit up as we wish
The Klingons and the Romulans
pose no threat to us
'Cause if we find we're in a bind
We'll just make some shit up.
    -- Voltaire, "The USS Make Shit Up"

Re:Ever notice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082416)

Your thinking voyager. Janeway is the one that fixed everything with tachyon pulses. In TNG is was phase discriminators that were always needed or one off named particle beams.

This doesn't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082244)

If antimatter and matter are gravitational dipoles what about light? It isn't matter, yet it is bent toward matter. Then how does antimatter bend light? Does it attract light or repulse it? Normally the relativistic explanation for the bending of light curves follows from the explanation that matter causes space itself to curve. But I have trouble seeing how the same curvature of space could attract matter and repulse antimatter. Only fields can do that, not the geometry of space.

If you can't handle the concept of dark matter (3, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082250)

Then quantum phenomena must really get your panties in a twist.

I realize this isn't a group of physicists here, but most of the arguments people here are positing against dark matter more or less boil down to "it's unintuitive". Seriously, welcome to modern physics guys.

This new idea may be the start of something (and I must say this guy certainly doesn't lack in the self-esteem department), or it may fall apart as it fails to get further developed. But until it - or another alternative idea - gain some traction with the scientific community, it's a bit premature to start writing off dark matter. At the moment, it's the best solution we've got.

Re:If you can't handle the concept of dark matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082328)

You're missing the point. It's always been a placeholder. When ever the math didn't add up dark matter and dark energy were the culprits. They are still look for evidence they even exist and no there is no direct evidence. Personally I think placeholders are just a cop out so Dark Matter and Dark Energy always grated on me. Once again Dark Matter isn't a solution, it's a way to make the math work until they figure out what is really going on. It's become the universe fudge factor for missing matter and gravitational anomalies not a real solution. If you can't detect it and you can't define it then maybe it doesn't exist in the first place.

Re:If you can't handle the concept of dark matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082436)

I'm fine with making things up to fill gaps until we can better explain them with actual science, as long as don't forget they're things we made up to fill gaps until we can better explain it with science. Give dark matter too much weight and the next thing you know you've lost the moral high ground for mocking theists who explain everything with "God".

Re:If you can't handle the concept of dark matter (1)

tylersoze (789256) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082452)

Yeah I know exactly what you mean. I get this all the time from my non-physicists friends, they seem to be the most skeptical not the actual working physicists and astronomers.

You know, there's a whole class of particles, called supersymmetric particles, that most extensions to the Standard Model practically *beg* to exist, so it's not such a stretch to think that dark matter might be these one of these stable, neutral massive SUSY particles that only interact through gravity and the weak force.

I should ask my friends if they're also skeptical of the Higgs boson.

Nothing New (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082256)

From TFP: "Let us end by pointing that the rotational curves of galaxies are not the only phenomenon
which is currently explained by Dark Matter. For instance, CMB data are apparently in favor of
the presence of dark matter as a key for understanding of density fluctuations and the structure
formation in the Universe (see review of Einasto, 2010). While our Letter gives indices that the
gravitational vacuum polarization could be an alternative to dark matter in the explanation of the
galactic rotational curves, a tremendous work would be needed, to reveal if the other phenomena
could be alternatively explained by the vacuum polarization."

In other words, it's just another MOND theory, of which there have been many over the years. Wake me when MOND proponents write a theory that explains *all* the evidence for dark matter, CMB, nucleosynthesis, rotation curves, etc., not the particular phenomena they've cherry-picked. Until then, dark matter, whether that's WIMPs, MACHOs or axions, is the only explanation that fits all the evidence thusfar.

question (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082304)

If there is no dark matter, then what is on the dark side of the moon?

Re:question (1)

tsiene (1649895) | more than 3 years ago | (#37082330)

If there is no dark matter, then what is on the dark side of the moon?

Tupac, Jesus, and the REAL Michael Jackson.

Re:question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082462)

cheese

Violation of Equivalence Principle (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082410)

Hajdukovic's assertion that the gravitational masses of particles and antiparticles are equal and opposite strains belief. Some theories suggest that these two quantities differ slightly in magnitude, but not in sign. See http://www.desy.de/user/projects/Physics/ParticleAndNuclear/antimatter_fall.html

Maya (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082470)

existence is illusion.

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