Dark matter was thought to be cold and collisionless. But maybe that’s not the full story.
If you look out at the Universe and measure all the matter out there, including stars, gas, dust, plasma, black holes, etc., it simply doesn’t add up. You can’t explain the gravitational effects you see with the known particles of the Standard Model alone. But even if you add in the one extra ingredient of cold, collisionless dark matter, it only fixes everything to a certain extent. In particular, the small-scale structures of the Universe, on the scales of individual galaxies and below, have a large mismatch between what’s observed and what’s predicted.
While there are many approaches we can take, and a few different possible explanations, perhaps the most compelling approach is to try and infer what particle properties might dark matter have to bring our observations in line with what our theories and simulations would predict? Here to talk to us about the latest progress on that front is PhD candidate and budding science communicator Sophia Gad-Nasr (a.k.a. @astropartigirl), who joins us for a fascinating ~90 minute discussion on this edition of the Starts With A Bang podcast!
Starts With A Bang is written by Ethan Siegel, Ph.D., author of Beyond The Galaxy, and Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive.