5 Apr 2015

Large Hadron Collider 2.0: the dark matter

Rebooted and ready to face a new challenge. The Large Hadron Collider has been running at half power since it hummed into life in 2008.

Next on the mystery-solving list: dark matter.

You probably want to know what it is – brace yourselves. The entry on NASA’s website begins with the Yoda-esque phrase “More is unknown than is known”

But for what it’s worth, here is the Channel 4 News guide to dark matter:

We know how much dark energy there is because we know how it affects the Universe’s expansion. Other than that, it is a complete mystery. But it is an important mystery.

It turns out that roughly 68 per cent of the Universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 27 per cent.

The rest – everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter – adds up to less than 5 per cent of the Universe.

Come to think of it, maybe it shouldn’t be called “normal” matter at all, since it is such a small fraction of the Universe.

Read more on the Nasa website: what is dark matter?

Still confused? Here is Dr Victoria Martin, a lecturer in particle physics, involved in experiments at Cern, explaining in more detail to Cathy Newman.