Dark matter and dark energy

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Lab #2 Dark Matter and Dark Energy

If it turns out to be that the universe is not made of cold dark matter, I would be rather depressed, given that I’ve worked all my life on cold dark matter. I would be disappointed, but not for very long because that’s the way science is. You have to accept the evidence. And if it turns out that I wasted my life working on the wrong hypothesis, so be it. What I really want to know is what is the universe made of. Let it be cold. Let it be warm. I just want to know what it is.— Professor Carlos Frenk, who’s spent his life researching Dark Matter

In this lab we will examine the evidence for Dark Matter and Dark Energy and look at some recent research results. We will go through the scientific process and despite not being experts (or science majors!) you will present your findings at the end of this study.

The parts to your report will not be a formal lab report but rather in the following format for both Dark Matter and Dark Energy:

Dark Matter

  • What observations led to the proposal of Dark Matter? Typically in science, you do not come up with an extension of your theory or propose a new hypothesis unless new data contradicts existing ideas. In other words, why did scientists begin proposing that there was a new particle or type of matter that got named Dark Matter?
  • What other hypothesis exist for explain the observations you listed in part #1 if any?
  • What is currently known about Dark Matter?
  • What are some of the current unknowns of Dark Matter?
  • What future experiments are being done that can shed light on Dark Matter?
  • In light of all of this, what is your personal opinion on Dark Matter and its validity as a scientific explanation?


Dark Energy

  • What observations led to the proposal of Dark Energy? Typically in science, you do not come up with an extension of your theory or propose a new hypothesis unless new data contradicts existing ideas. In other words, why did scientists begin proposing that there was a new thing we call Dark Energy and why is it called Dark Energy?
  • What other hypothesis exist for explain the observations you listed in part #1 if any?
  • What is currently known about Dark Energy?
  • What are some of the current unknowns of Dark Energy?
  • What future experiments are being done that can shed light on Dark Energy?
  • In light of all of this, what is your personal opinion on Dark Energy and its validity as a scientific explanation?

To answer these questions you will watch two documentaries and read a few articles to perform your analysis.

Dancing in the Dark: The End of Physics?

http://0-fod.infobase.com.library.regent.edu/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=104759&xtid=115627 (49 minutes)

http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2006/08/21/dark-matter-exists/

http://news.yale.edu/2017/03/01/yale-led-team-puts-dark-matter-map

https://phys.org/news/2017-04-capture-image-dark-web-galaxies.html

Dark Energy: Physics for the 21st Century

http://0-fod.infobase.com.library.regent.edu/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=104759&xtid=111563(28 minutes)

http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2011/10/04/dark-energy-faq/

http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2011/10/04/nobel-prize-for-the-accelerating-universe/

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