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The dark core of dark matter

The dark core of dark matter

Dark Matter Evidence from Nasa

The link above is an interview I did for CTV's National Affairs on a new result that could change our understanding of dark matter.

Previous evidence points to dark matter not being able to interact with other dark (or regular) matter except weakly through gravity. Researchers at UBC took a look at a "cosmic train wreck" that occurred when two galatic superclusters smashed into one another. These galatic superclusters, each containing hundreds or even thousands of individual galaxies, are mostly made up of free Hydrogen gas. During the collision the gas interacts and gets "stuck" in the middle while the stars, planets, and dark matter should keep on moving through.

In this case it appears that the dark matter gets "stuck" in the middle as well, something that was not seen in previous observations of other cosmic train wrecks. There are a number of possible explanations, all of which will teach us something new about nature of dark matter:

  • Some dark matter may actually be able to interact with other dark matter via some new force.
  • There may have already been a large chunk of dark matter, without much regular matter, sitting in the middle where the collision took place. In this case, we need to understand how so much dark matter can exists without much regular matter.
  • Dark matter has a filament-like nature, similar to how roots on a tree grow. In this case, we may be looking at one of the filaments end on. Imagine looking at a pencil end on. All you would see is the pencil point and not have any idea how long the pencil actually is. A similar thing could be happening with the dark matter–what we see as a small dense core in the center could actually be a an incredibly long filament of dark matter.

This result provides another puzzle piece in the mystery of what dark matter is, how galaxies form, and what our place in the universe is.

A big thanks to Adrienne Erickcek and Keith Vanderlinde for walking me through this exciting work.

The Power of the Printed Press

The Power of the Printed Press

Quantum Potter: Front page story of the Waterloo Record

Last week two different articles ran in local newspapers promoting the upcoming Quantum Physics & Harry Potter show. The first was a story by Marshall Ward for the Waterloo Chronicle. The second was a front page cover story by Greg Mercer of the Waterloo Record. Within an hour of the front page story in the record appearing, both nights of the show sold out! People say that traditional media is dying. This may be true, but they still have a tremendous amount of influence and reach.

Here is my cat trying to read the story. She makes a special guest appearance in the show to help me explain Schrodinger's cat.

Quantum Potter and Schrodinger's cat

Double-Slit Rap: The Disco of Space and Time

Double-Slit Rap: The Disco of Space and Time

Double-Slit Trajectories

Our double-slit experiment work has now been eulogized in song! The BBC Radio 4 program, Friday Night Comedy recently rapped about our work. What is most amazing is that they got the physics right and managed to sneak in a dig about the Bond movie Quantum of Solace. Skip to 5:30 to where the song begins. [audio 

I would love to see what kind of remixes people can come up with. I bet there are some funny Youtube movies that could be made.

Listen to my Quirks and Quarks interview about the double-slit experiment

Listen to my Quirks and Quarks interview about the double-slit experiment

My interview on Quirks and Quarks is now available online.  

I am pleased with how the interview went.  I was probably interviewed for about 15-20 minutes which the producers did an excellent job condensing down to 10 minutes.  One of the things cut though was the acknowledgement that the work was done at the University of Toronto in Aephraim Steinberg's lab (my PhD advisor).

A big thanks to everyone who helped me prepare for this, and a shout out to Colin Hunter and Kim Luke for helping to arrange the interview.  If you are interested, here is a posting that lists all of the media coverage our paper has received. I also wrote a post about my experience being interviewed on Quirks and Quarks.

Finally, here is a picture of me listening to the interview with my signed postcard from Bob McDonald.

Listening to Quirks and Quarks

Media coverage over our double-slit experiment

Media coverage over our double-slit experiment

Our double-slit experiment paper that was published this week in Science has generated a lot of media coverage. Here are some links to write ups about our experiment. I will update this with new links as they appear. Let me know in the comments if you come across any other coverage, and I will add the links here. Original Paper


- CBC's Quirks and Quarks Interview I did

**Press Releases**

- Press release from the University of Toronto - Press release from the Institute for Quantum Computing

These press releases have been picked up and are now being recycled on numerous other websites.

**Original articles covering our experiment**

- Science - Nature - CBC News - BBC (we made the front page!) And is the number 2 most shared and number 3 most read article! - Scientific American - Uncertainty Principle: The best overview on a technical level of what we did in our experiment. - Arstechnica - - Waterloo Record


- The Russian take on the experiment - This is what you get if you run the press release through Google translate and back

**[Update]** We hit Slashdot. **[Update x2]** Our experiment has been memorialized in song! **[Update x3]** Our experiment has been selected as Physics World's breakthrough of the year for 2011!

3DPlot trajectories through a double-slit apparatus