Dark, Deep & Spooky…

Today’s physics is “probably” not the kind of thing that you, or at least your parents and grandparents, learned about in school (unless you happen to be a Physicist). Even the most casual science buff knows that today it’s all about exotic stuff like dark matter (NASA), ghost particles (FermiLab) and “spooky action at a distance” (MIT).

There’s been quite a lot of new developments on all of these fronts recently, so here are some intriguing updates from the cutting edge of physics.


One big story that made the news is that the Dark Energy Survey has released a new “Dark Matter Map of the Universe.” Of course, by definition, that’s pretty hard to do, but they did it.

New map of Universe’s dark matter (Pallab Ghosh, BBC News)
Standard model of the universe withstands most precise test by Dark Energy Survey (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)
DES Year 1 Cosmology Results: Papers (Dark Energy Survey)


The Dark Energy Survey used good old astronomy to find dark matter, but earlier this year Motherboard did a fantastic feature on an underground science laboratory called SNOLAB that takes a very different approach to finding dark matter and pesky things like neutrinos.

The folks at Motherboard also did a special 360° Video that shows more background on their visit, literally and figuratively.


SNOLAB’s experiments try to find the “ghostly” neutrinos, but what are they? Here’s a quick, top level explanation.

Here’s a bit more elaborate introduction to neutrinos by Fermilab’s Don Lincoln.

BTW You can find over 30 more similarly short and helpful videos about related topics done by Don Lincoln online: Popular Videos – Fermilab & Don Lincoln (YouTube)

You can also watch this full length lecture by Arthur B. McDonald (Co-recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for showing that neutrinos have mass).

Arthur B. McDonald and Takaaki Kajita, Nobel Prize in Physics 2015 (Nobel Prize Press Release)

Ghost Busters!

Just this week scientists from University of Chicago’s Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics announced a surprising new development in the search for the the elusive, ghostly neutrinos. The first video provides an overview of what they did, and the second video from the University of Chicago gives more background.

World’s smallest neutrino detector observes elusive interactions of particles (Steve Koppes, University of Chicago News)


Finally, on a somewhat different front, earlier this year some scientists in China used a satellite to show that Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance” really does happen!

The Universe Is as Spooky as Einstein Thought (Natalie Wolchover, The Atlantic)
Satellite-based entanglement distribution over 1200 kilometers (Juan Yin, et. al., AAAS Science)
Cosmic Bell Test: Measurement Settings from Milky Way Stars (Johannes Handsteiner, et. al., Physical Review Letters)

Wow, and that’s just what’s been in the news lately — imagine all of the other stuff going on out there right now!

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