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Happy Birthday To Vera Rubin: The Mother Of Our Dark Matter Universe

30 Jul 2019, 14:01 UTC
Happy Birthday To Vera Rubin: The Mother Of Our Dark Matter Universe
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Vera Rubin is shown here in 1974, analyzing data from different portions of a galaxy to ascertain its rotational properties. The discovery that the effects of gravity did not trace out the same path that the starlight does was one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century, and brought dark matter into the mainstream of science from the fringes, where it had languished for most of the 20th century. Her work changed our conception of the Universe forever. (CARNEGIE INSTITUTION FOR SCIENCE / ASSOCIATED PRESS)Our Universe cannot be described by normal matter alone. Vera Rubin’s work led the way.Ask an astrophysicist what our Universe is made of, and you’ll likely receive a shocking surprise. While everything that we know of and interact with on Earth is made of the same normal ingredients — the protons, neutrons, and electrons that make up atoms and the rest of the normal matter we know of — the Universe tells a very different story. Normal matter is only 5% of the Universe, with dark matter (27%) and dark energy (68%) making up the vast majority of what’s out there.This isn’t a prejudice or an ad hoc fix that was put into place, ...

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