QUO Fast Radio Bursts

E04: Dark Matter, Destroyer of Worlds ft. Alan

November 16, 2020 Queen's Observatory Season 1 Episode 5
QUO Fast Radio Bursts
E04: Dark Matter, Destroyer of Worlds ft. Alan
Show Notes


  • Dark matter appears to be everywhere in the universe, yet we don't know what it is
  • One idea that many scientists think dark matter could be is a WIMP but there are many other ideas
  • Asymmetric dark matter is a concept for dark matter that wouldn't have an anti-particle. While this doesn't seem far fetched at first, it is surprising to a lot of physicists.

How to destroy a world with dark matter:

  • If dark matter can collide with regular matter it may sink to the center of the Earth and collect there until it collapses into a black hole
  • This could be stopped if dark matter particles bounce off each other, but that is unlikely to be an issue
  • Since the Earth hasn't been destroyed yet, we can exclude dark matter ideas that would destroy the Earth and look for other models
  • One possibility is that the black holes evaporate and produce particles that we might be able to detect

What else can we learn:

  • Dark matter black holes could be detected by the neutrinos that they emit, but we haven't seen them yet so more limits can be made
  • Surprisingly, Neutron stars aren't very good at collecting dark matter
  • Also, on large scales of the universe there wouldn't be much difference between Alan's asymmetric dark matter and other models like WIMPs

Links to Science Outreach Material:

Special thanks to Colin Vendromin for the music also thanks to Zac Kenny for the logo!