/Why hasn’t universe destroyed itself? Scientists take HUGE step forward to solving riddle – Express.co.uk

Why hasn’t universe destroyed itself? Scientists take HUGE step forward to solving riddle – Express.co.uk


Scientists know there is an anomaly in the amount of matter and anti-matter in the universe, leaving experts baffled as to how it has lasted so long. They believe it should have destroyed itself instantly after it came into being 13.8 billion years ago. According to the standard model, there were equal parts matter and anti-matter when the universe first began.

However, also according to the standard model, these matter and anti-matter parts should have annihilated each other – and the entire universe – when they came into contact.

This has led to the conclusion there is an asymmetry somewhere in which there is more matter than antimatter, despite observations finding there to be an equal amount of the two.

This quest has led scientists to question whether dark matter is the culprit.

What exactly dark energy is has kept scientists stumped since it was theorised in 1980 as a sort of anti-gravity, pushing galaxies farther and farther away from each other.

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Why hasn’t universe destroyed itself? Scientists take HUGE step forward to solving riddle (Image: GETTY)

matter antimatter

Matter-antimatter should annihilate each other (Image: GETTY)

The reason dark matter remains so mysterious is that it does not interact with light particles, so it cannot be observed.

Currently, physicists only understand what just over 15 percent of the observable universe is made up of – the rest is considered dark matter.

But researchers now believe dark matter could be linked to the disconnect between matter and antimatter.

Experts from the Fundamental Symmetries Laboratory at Japanese research institution Riken believe dark matter could interact differently with antimatter, which would explain why matter is not annihilated and continues to exist.

READ MORE: Dark matter: NASA reveals substance tugs galaxies to ‘extreme’ speeds

dark matter

Dark matter is one of the missing pieces of the universe (Image: GETTY)

In the research, scientists wanted to see how a particle known as an axion – which is a potential candidate for what dark matter is made of – interacted with antimatter.

The researchers designed a device which caught an antiproton – the opposite of a light particle, photon – and isolated it.

The team then observed the spin on the antiproton, which would fluctuate in the presence of dark matter.

However, the researchers saw no fluctuations, but still say the test was a success.

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BIG BANG

“For the first time, we have explicitly searched for interaction between dark matter and antimatter” (Image: GETTY)

Christian Smorra, lead author of the study, said: “For the first time, we have explicitly searched for interaction between dark matter and antimatter, and though we did not find a difference [between effects on matter and antimatter], we set a new upper limit for the potential interaction between dark matter and antimatter.”

David Morrissey, who researches antimatter/matter asymmetry at Canada’s particle accelerator centre, TRIUMF: “I don’t think anybody in the field really believes that a specific candidate for dark matter is correct.

“It’s more a matter of looking for the candidates that seem to have the best theoretical motivation.”

Original Source