Is dark matter older than the big bang?

Subject: The origin of dark matter - Comments and suggestions are welcome! Don't hesitate and leave a comment on our comment section down below the article!

By Stef Verhagen

The timeline of our universe, dating back to the big bang. Is dark matter older than that? - Image Credits: N.R.Fuller, National Science Foundation

The timeline of our universe, dating back to the big bang. Is dark matter older than that? - Image Credits: N.R.Fuller, National Science Foundation

Dark matter has eluded astrophysicists for quite some time. Its existence was first suggested in the 1920s by a Dutch astronomer named Jacobus Kaptyen, based on stellar velocities. Famous radio astronomer Jan Oort later strengthened the hypothesis behind the existence dark matter in the early 1930s as he discovered that there had to be more mass than observed in order to make our local galactic neighborhood move as it does. In August 2006 NASA found direct proof of the existence of Dark Matter

Dark Matter is not directly observable, but its existence is derived from the weird gravitational effects it has on matter and the distribution of space. It is estimated that dark matter accounts for approximately 80% of the total amount of matter in our universe, and yet we know almost nothing about it. It is one of the greatest mysteries of our existence.

The mystery gets even more profound when you include dark energy. Combined our universe is made up of 27% dark matter, 68% dark energy and only 5% ordinary matter. Give this astonishing fact some time to sink in…All that we know about the world around us is derived from this tiny, 5% fraction of the total mass-energy of the universe.

Back to the present day: researchers from the Johns Hopkins University are trying to figure out the origin of dark matter. In their recently published study, they postulated a new idea about how dark matter was born. Amazingly their research suggests that dark matter may have existed before the Big Bang!

The way the universe look now is derived from its origins billions of years ago. According to researchers dark matter are a key component behind the existence of galaxies (without it they would fly apart) - Image Credits: NASA/WMAP Science Team

The way the universe look now is derived from its origins billions of years ago. According to researchers dark matter are a key component behind the existence of galaxies (without it they would fly apart) - Image Credits: NASA/WMAP Science Team

According to Tommi Tenkanen (the study’s author), the research revealed a new connection between particle physics and astronomy. It might be that dark matter consists of a type of particle that has existed before the big bang. These particles explain the extraordinary way in which galaxies are distributed throughout the cosmos right now.

In addition, mister Tenkanen explained that this newly discovered connection might be used to explore conditions about the times before the Big Bang. Up until now, researchers believed that dark matter had to be a leftover substance from the Big Bang. However, experimental searches thus far have been unable to find said substance.

The Johns Hopkins study shows by use of a new and straightforward mathematical framework that dark matter might have been produced before the big bang. According to this framework, that production must have taken place during the era of cosmic inflation. The rapid expansion during this time period has also been linked to the production of scalar particles.

As of today only one of these potential scalar particles has actually been discovered, the Higgs Boson. Tenkamen continues in stating that we still do not know what dark matter is but that if it has anything to do with scalar particles, it may be older than the Big Bang itself.

The submergence of dark matter before the event of the big bang is in itself not a new idea. However the idea has never been supported by a mathematical framework, this study creates that calculation. Tenkanen commented that scientists have been overlooking the simplest possible mathematical scenario for the origin of Dark Matter.

Although not entirely analog to the philosophical principle behind Occam’s razor which states that the explanation for a phenomenon with the least amount of speculation is usually the best. In mathematics, scientists search for elegance and simplicity. This new mathematical model at least gives us a simple and more elegant potential solution for the mystery behind the origin of dark matter.

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