An international team of researchers has for the first time observed a concrete hint of what physicists believe to be the particle behind dark matter and therefore nearly a quarter of the universe — a WIMP, or weakly interacting massive particle.
Scientists with the international Super Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (SuperCDMS) experiment involving Texas A ‘n’ M high-energy physicist Rupak Mahapatra are reporting a WIMP-like signal at the 3-sigma level, indicating a 99.8% chance — or, in high-energy parlance, a hint of the mysterious substance dark matter that is believed to hold the cosmos together but to date has never been directly observed.
“In high-energy physics, a discovery is only claimed at 5-sigma or better. So this is certainly very exciting, but not fully convincing by the standards. We just need more data to be sure. For now, we have to live with this tantalizing hint of one of the biggest puzzles of our time,” Mahapatra said.