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Dark matter: a British-led team is trying to solve the biggest mystery in the universe.

These two men aren't miners: they're astroparticle physicists whose lab is over half a mile beneath Yorkshire. They're looking for dark matter. They're not sure if it exists or if they'll find it. But they've got until March, and if they do, our world will never be the same again... 

Dr Sean Paling and Neil Rowley at the Boulby potash mine, which houses the Deep Underground Science Facility

Dr Sean Paling and Neil Rowley at the Boulby potash mine, which houses the Deep Underground Science Facility. The tunnels are tall and comfortably broad enough for two Land Rovers to drive past one another

 

It’s so scientifically valuable that if only they can be the first to find it, their creators’ names will go down in history alongside Newton’s and Einstein’s; but, frustratingly, it’s so mysterious that none of the scientists involved on the project knows for certain whether dark matter even exists.

The search for dark matter is one of the aims of the £6 billion Large Hadron Collider project at CERN in Switzerland, and a major goal of other American and European projects. This very British attempt is costing less than £1 million a year to run.

‘I can’t even tell you whether the kind of particle I’m looking for exists,’ admits Professor Snowden-Ifft, the Californian who has flown over from Occidental College in Los Angeles to repair the Dark Matter Telescope.

‘It’s possible we could just be looking for the wrong thing.’

But if they do succeed?

‘Then finally we would have answered one of the outstanding questions in physics,’ says Dr Henrique Araujo, Lecturer at Imperial College London who is leading the ZEPLIN-III project.


Continues...


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1348690/Dark-matter...


 

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