July 2020. Story

In The Dark

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy

Shakespeare, Hamlet

The entire universe totals two trillion galaxies by one estimate.  And each galaxy contains hundreds of billions of stars.  The numbers seem almost unthinkable, but scientists have evidence that this visible universe, what you and I, the earth, all the stars, the air we breath, are made of, accounts for only five percent of the solid matter in the entire universe.  This five percent the scientists call baryonic matter. 

There is another twenty-five percent of another form of matter that coexists with our baryonic matter which cannot be seen, cannot be detected by any means except by its gravitational effect.  It has been labeled “Dark Matter” and it coexists with baryonic matter as part of our galaxy and in other galaxies throughout our universe, but it otherwise does not interact with us. 

Now neutrinos, which we can detect as part of our baryonic universe, are emitted by our sun (as one major source) and billions pass through our bodies, zip through the earth itself, every second with no or very scant interaction or effect on us and the other objects they pass through.  And that’s a physical particle we know about.  Undetectable by our senses.

Now, if you’ve been adding up the percentages, you might ask,” Okay, the universe we know and the so-called Dark Matter in it add up to thirty percent.  What about the other seventy percent?”  Ah.  That the scientists call, “Dark Energy.”  And no one has a clue.

So leaving that puzzle for now, just imagine….

In a place we cannot see or detect and with sentient beings we cannot understand, at a conference of their non-living sciences (as opposed to their living sciences), a sensational hypothesis has been presented, and is being hotly discussed in their language.  (This can only be roughy translated into English, since they may not be communicating only audibly.  Their names also have been arbitrarily reassigned in English.)

”You cannot be serious,” Gamma says, “This overturns what we have taken as doctrine ever since (here there is a reference to some past event or individual).”

  “I am deadly (could also translate as extremely or fatally) serious.  There is no other way to account for the observations from our new observatories,” replies Beta.

“It was just (a measure of time) ago that we even knew that the blurs we had previously assumed were gas clouds that were close to us were actually very far-off galaxies like the one we’re in,” Theta says.  “The whole science of the universe is still evolving.”

“Yes, and remember how many deniers there were when that was first presented,” Beta says.  “New instruments (could also translate (tr.) as tools or gadgets) come along and science must change to accommodate the new information that they provide.  And I have presented new information.”

Sigma asks, “And you’ve checked and rechecked your methods and data?”

“Of course.  You should know me better than to ask that.  And I’ve asked Omega and others at the observatory to go over the observations, the calculations, and look for other explanations.  And there were none,” Beta says.

Gamma shakes (could also tr. as moves or rotates) its head in disbelief (could also translate as lack of meaning or faith), saying, “You say that there’s no way we can prove that what you presented is real except by its effect on our universe through gravity?  That it has to be some possibly new form of matter that we may never be able to define?”

“Wait, I did not say it was a new form of matter.  I said that was one possibility.  What I did say was that our galaxy could not hold together with the amount of matter that we had calculated for it in the past,” Beta replies, “Without either possibly some additional force besides gravity at work, or 16 and 2/3 percent more matter being present, the galaxy would fly apart.”

“Either some force outside of what we know of physics, or some substance outside of physics,” says Delta.  “Some choices you give us.”

“It’s not my idea,” says Beta.  “It’s what the universe gives us.  It’s up to us as scientists to figure (could also tr. as decode or body) it out.  And of course I expect others to try to replicate (could also tr. as reproduce or copulate) what I’ve presented.”

“Sixteen and two-thirds more matter is such a large number,” says Delta. “How could we not  have detected it before?”

“Because in the past our instruments were not precise enough,” replies Beta.

The discussion continues for many units of time.

“For convenience, it’s awkward (could also tr. as clumsy or unmannered) to keep referring to this hypothetical matter or force as the ‘possible new matter or the possible new force’,” Delta says.  “Since it or they cannot ‘speak’ to us through our instruments and we cannot detect it or them, why don’t we just call them Dumb Matter or Dumb Energy.  I mean they are silent to us except through gravity effects, right?”

“That’s right,” replies Beta.

“I like that,” says Gamma. “If you’re right, Beta, then the name fits, and if you’re wrong, the name still fits.

“So then would it be possible to visualize Dumb Matter through its gravity somehow?” asks Phi.  “Also if Dumb Matter does possess gravity, could it not clump together?”

“No, we cannot use gravity to visualize it, but yes, it’s possible that Dumb Matter could clump together,” Beta says.

Theta asks, “Then do you think that if there really is this Dumb Matter in our galaxy, that it also has formed stars and planets that are invisible to us and that even possibly shelter forms of life that we will never ever know about?”

“Now you are entering the realm of speculative (could also tr. as intuitive or gambling) non-faction,” says Gamma.

“Just think,” continues Theta ignoring Gamma, “Our planet could be in the same space as a Dumb Matter planet, and we would never detect each other.”

“Beings, Beings,” says Gamma, “Remember.  We are attending a scientific conference!”

“But also remember that without imagination (could also tr. as fancy or fabrication) science could not advance,” Beta says.

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