AAPT Abstract Archive

Abstract Information

  Session: Frontiers in Astronomy
  Paper Type: Invited
  Title: Dark Matter in Galaxy Clusters: Past, Present, and Future
  Meeting: 2016 Summer Meeting: Sacremento, California
  Location: N/A
  Time: 9:00AM
  Author: David Wittman, University of California, Davis
530-554-2354, dwittman@physics.ucdavis.edu
  Co-Author(s): None
  Abstract: Dark matter makes a wonderful case study in the nature of science. What should astronomers do when they see orbits that apparently conflict with the known law of gravity? Two competing explanations always arise: dark matter (unseen mass influencing the orbit according to the known law of gravity) and modified gravity. I will briefly review two historical examples---one in which dark matter turned out to be the correct explanation and one in which modified gravity turned out to be correct---to set the stage for the modern conception of dark matter. Turning to the present, I will explain how merging clusters of galaxies prove the case for dark matter despite its apparently extravagant violation of Occam's razor. Looking to the future, I will show how the latest observations of merging clusters could tell us something surprising about dark matter.
  Footnotes: None
  Presentation: dm-clusters.pdf

2003 © American Association of Physics Teachers
Have questions about this site? Email the webmaster.
AAPT Home AAPT Abstract Archive Past Meeting Info