Dark Matter or Alternative Gravity?

30/01/2019

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DFG Research Group in Particle Physics to host a conference exploring philosophical and historical aspects of research at the Large Hadron Collider

 

Astrophysical observations and explanatory gaps in the Standard Model of particle physics imply the existence of dark matter or that there must be an alternative, more powerful theory of space and time. Dark matter has been postulated as a form of matter, which is not directly visible, but which has gravitational effects on visible matter:

“Current theories posit that about 80 percent of matter in the universe consists of dark matter,” explains Professor Michael Krämer from the Institute for Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology. “So far, the search for this type of matter has not been successful, and physicists have begun to look for alternative explanatory models. Possibly a modified theory of gravity may be able to describe the movements of galaxies. And it is an open question whether dark matter and a modified theory of spacetime are just different sides of the same coin.”

The Aachen physicist is a member of a research unit titled “The Epistemology of the Large Hadron Collider,” a collaborative venture which has received funding worth 2.5 million euros from the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) since 2016.

More than twenty international researchers from disciplines such as physics, philosophy, the history of science, and the sociology of science have been discussing the understanding of scientific knowledge in particle physics.

Spokesperson for the group is Professor Gregor Schiemann from the Interdisciplinary Center for Science and Technology Research at the University of Wuppertal. “The dialogue between physics and philosophy has so far not received the scholarly attention it deserves. Our interdisciplinary collaboration addresses this gap in research,” says Schiemann.

Between February 6 and 8, 2019, The DFG research unit will host a workshop on the topic of Dark Matter and Alternative Gravity. About 70 attendants from all over the world are expected to attend the conference to explore the philosophical and historical aspects of this exciting debate in fundamental research.