Let’s take a moment to imagine the vastness of our universe. All that is visible to us through our gigantic telescopes is unimaginable to our minds. Yet, all that is visible to us makes up a tiny slice of our universe – just 4 percent. The remaining is made up of dark energy and dark matter. Today, we focus on the illusive dark matter which constitutes around 23 percent of our universe. How did we discover matter we cannot see? How is dark matter different to ‘normal’ matter? Most importantly, what is dark matter? I’ll give you a hint for the last one. We don’t really know yet. Let’s forget you read that last sentence and quickly move on.
It was 1915 when our resident genius Albert Einstein published his theory of General Relativity. As Christmas trees stood tall and families reunited for the holidays that year, Einstein received a letter from a German soldier on the Russian front. This soldier was Karl Schwarzschild, who, amongst the guns and shouts, found a solution to Einstein’s theory that directly predicted black holes.
13.8 billion years ago, our universe began. Then followed particles… then galaxies… then stars… then planets. One of these planets, formed 4.5 million years ago, witnessed the birth of our first human ancestors around 3.2 million years. Over these years, our brains evolved to understand emotions, communicate with others, create meaning out of trivial matters, and read online articles pondering their own existence. This seems to be an accurate summary of our existence, right?