So apparently I just took an unscheduled blogging hiatus over the past couple of weeks. Sorry about that — it wasn’t at all intentional, real life just got in the way. It was a fun kind of real life — trips to Atlanta, NYC, and Century City, all of which I hope to chat about soon enough.
Anything happen while I was gone? Oh yeah, dark matter was not discovered. More specifically, the LUX experiment released new limits, which at face value rule out some of those intriguing hints that might have been pointing toward lighter-than-expected dark matter particles. (Not everyone thinks things should be taken at face value, but we’ll see.) I didn’t get a chance to comment at the time, but Jester and Matt Strassler have you covered.
Let me just emphasize: there’s still plenty of room for dark matter in general, and WIMPs (weakly interactive massive particles, the particular kind of dark matter experiments like this are looking for) in particular. The parameter space is shaved off a bit, but it’s far from exhausted. Not finding a signal in a certain region of parameter space certainly decreases the Bayesian probability that a model is true, but in this case there’s still plenty of room.
Not that there will be forever. If dark matter is a WIMP, it should be detectable, as long as we build sensitive enough experiments. Of course there are plenty of non-WIMP models out there, well worth exploring. But for the moment Nature is just asking that we be a little more patient.