Any WIMPs in here?
By Michael Banks
You shouldn’t believe everything you read in the blogs (except this one of course).
What constitutes dark matter, which is thought to make up around 90% of the material in the universe, is a hot topic of research these days with researchers vying to be the first to provide direct evidence of it. If true, it would perhaps be the discovery of the year.
The new rumours are based on the latest results from the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) located in the Soudan Underground Laboratory in Minnesota, which is searching for weakly interacting massive particles or WIMPs — a prime candidate for dark matter.
We were a little suspicious of the rumours as Nature is published on Thursday with embargos for news items about its papers on Wednesday evening at 6pm GMT. However, the paper could have been an advanced online publication in Nature or perhaps was due to be published in Science, which is published every Friday.
The rumours were also backed by a series of talks being given by various members of the CDMS team at labs such as CERN on 18 December - the same date as the paper would be published.
However, Leslie Sage, a senior editor at Nature, wrote to Resonaances saying there was no such Nature paper and the rumours were unfounded.
I contacted Priscilla Cushman from the CDMS collaboration and based at the University of Minnesota, who confirmed to me that indeed they have not submitted a paper to Nature.
So why are they presenting the results at different labs on the same day? “Since there is no major conference at this time in which to present them we are coordinating our talks,” Cushman told physicsworld.com.
CDMS researchers will, however, be publishing an arXiv paper on the morning of Friday 18 December about their latest results, so we will have to wait until then.
Cushman says the group were quite taken aback by the rumours going around. “It is certainly an interesting social phenomena [sic],” says Cushman. But ultimately it was “lots of smoke and not much fire”.