Dark Matter May Be Older Than the Big Bang, Study Suggests

A full eclipse.

What exactly it is and how it came to be is a mystery, but a new Johns Hopkins University study now suggests that dark matter may have existed before the Big Bang. (Image: AlexAntropov86 via Pixabay)

Dark matter, which researchers believe makes up about 80 percent of the universe’s mass, is one of the most elusive mysteries in modern physics. A recent study indicates it may be older than the Big Bang.

The study, published in Physical Review Letters, presents a new idea of how this matter was born and how to identify it with astronomical observations. Tommi Tenkanen, a postdoctoral fellow in Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University and the study’s author, said:

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Receive selected content straight into your inbox.

While not much is known about its origins, astronomers have shown that dark matter plays a crucial role in the formation of galaxies and galaxy clusters. Though not directly observable, scientists know it exists by its gravitation effects on how visible matter moves and is distributed in space.

For a long time, researchers believed that it must be a leftover substance from the Big Bang. Researchers have long sought this kind of matter, but so far all experimental searches have been unsuccessful. Tenkanen said:

Dark Matter may be older than the Big Bang

Using a new, simple mathematical framework, the study shows that dark matter may have been produced before the Big Bang during an era known as cosmic inflation, when space was expanding very rapidly. The rapid expansion is believed to lead to the copious production of certain types of particles called scalars.

So far, only one scalar particle has been discovered, the famous Higgs boson. Tenkanen explained:

While the idea that dark matter existed before the Big Bang is not new, other theorists have not been able to come up with calculations that support the idea. The new study shows that researchers have always overlooked the simplest possible mathematical scenario for its origins, he says.

The new study also suggests a way to test the origin of this matter by observing the signatures it leaves on the distribution of matter in the universe, saying:

Provided by: Johns Hopkins University [Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.]

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest

Recommended Stories

Illustration of Chinese scholar Qian Mu, wearing traditional clothing and glasses.

Qian Mu: Guardian of Chinese Tradition in the Shadow of Communism (Part 1)

In 1949, as the Communist Party was poised to take control of mainland China, with ...

Old photo of Chinese historian, Qian Mu, dressed in scholarly robes.

Qian Mu: Guardian of Chinese Tradition in the Shadow of Communism (Part 2)

In 1966, when Chairman Mao Zedong initiated the Cultural Revolution, China’s traditional culture faced an ...

Illustration of a man resting on a sofa.

Unlocking the Benefits of Power Naps for Productivity and Well-Being

The relentless pace of modern life often leaves us feeling drained. In the midst of ...

Colored clouds in the sky.

How a Hug Can Make Miracles Happen

Do miracles exist? Our world is governed by logic and science; extraordinary events often spark ...

A young Chinese man napping on a train.

What Is the Ubiquitous Chinese Nap Culture?

The ubiquitous Chinese nap culture is something that most foreigners usually do not follow. The ...

A laughing baby crawling on the floor.

The Science of Joy: Exploring Human Psychology Through a Babies’ Laughter

There’s something irresistibly captivating about babies’ laughter. A beacon of pure joy and an indicator ...

A laughing Japanese school girl with her friends, all in their school uniforms eating ice cream cones.

Laughter Helps You Live Longer

Research reveals that laughter can help you live longer! The Chinese saying “Smiles make one ...

John Cleese of 'Fawlty Towers.'

‘Fawlty Towers’ Reboot: John Cleese and Daughter to Revive the Iconic Sitcom 40 Years Later

Most people fondly remember classic British sitcoms such as The Office, Blackadder, Last of the ...

William Getty walking with the aid of parallel bars.

A Small Act of Kindness Helped a Boy with Cerebral Palsy Learn to Walk Again

Living with cerebral palsy is an unimaginable hardship that some people have to go through. ...

Send this to a friend