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Dark Matter Found In Minnesota?

Illustration for article titled Dark Matter Found In Minnesota?

Has proof of the existence of Dark Matter been found? And, more strangely, has it been found in a mine in the middle of Minnesota, instead of deep space? The answer to both questions may turn out to be yes...

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New Scientist reports that researchers involved in something called the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search may have found dark matter particles in an abandoned iron mine in Northern Minnesota. Emphasis on the "may":

When the CDMS-II team looked at the analysis of their latest run – after accounting for all possible background particles and any faulty detectors in their stacks – they were in for a surprise. Their statistical models predicted that they would see 0.8 events during a run between 2007 and 2008, but instead they saw two.

The team is not claiming discovery of dark matter, because the result is not statistically significant. There is a 1-in-4 chance that it is merely due to fluctuations in the background noise. Had the experiment seen five events above the expected background, the claim for having detected dark matter would have been a lot stronger.

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Unable to prove that it is or isn't evidence of dark matter, the team are working on creating equipment three times as sensitive to use in the same area next year.

Clearest sign yet of dark matter detected [New Scientist]

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DISCUSSION

wookielifeday-old
Wookielifeday

There's got to be a Garrison Keillor joke here. Feel free to make it.