News of the WeekAstrophysics

Has a Dark Particle Come to Light?

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Science  01 Jan 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5398, pp. 13-14
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5398.13b

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A strange new particle may have left its mark in a detector deep in a mountain in central Italy. Reclusive and ponderous, with many times the mass of the proton, such particles, called WIMPs (for weakly interacting massive particles), could account for some or all of the mysterious dark matter that astronomers believe far outweighs the galaxy's glowing stars and gas clouds. But for now the claim, announced here on 16 December at a gathering called--despite the location--the Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics and Cosmology, faces plenty of skepticism.