Tue, May 06, 2008 - Page 14 News List

Italian researchers say they have found dark matter 義大利科學家宣稱找到暗物質

A ring of what NASA says is dark matter. The Hubble Space Telescope was used to discover the ghostly ring of dark matter which was formed long ago during a collision between two massive galaxy clusters. The photo was provided by NASA-ESA on May 15, 2007.美國航太總署認為是暗物質的環狀物,這個很久以前由兩大星系團碰撞而產生的如幽靈般無形的環狀暗物質,是透過哈伯太空望遠鏡發現的。照片由美國航太總署-歐洲太空總署於去年五月十五日提供。照片:美聯社�美國航太總署-歐洲太空總署

PHOTO: AP/NASA-ESA

Scientists hunting an invisible form of matter that pervades the universe and holds galaxies together claim to have found it underneath a mountain in Italy.

The discovery, at a laboratory built deep into the Gran Sasso mountain in Abruzzo, could end a 70-year race to find “dark matter.” Physicists believe that most of the mass of the universe is in a “dark” form.

The existence of dark matter was first postulated in 1933 by a Swiss astronomer. The astronomer observed that distant galaxies must be held together by a huge gravitational pull caused by some apparently invisible form of matter. It gained the name “dark matter” because it does not shine or reflect light.

Researchers led by Dr Rita Bernabei at the University of Rome claim that a giant detector inside the mountain laboratory has picked up signs of dark matter. The signal suggests that it could be made of theoretical particles known as axions. The discovery was announced at a physics conference in Venice. The experiment was designed to detect dark matter in space as Earth flies through it.

Scientists are unlikely to take this single result as hard proof. Many say the discovery will have to be replicated by groups around the world before they can be sure they have finally shed light on dark matter. Earlier this year British researchers became the latest to join the hunt, using a laboratory deep inside an old salt mine in the north of England. The labs are built underground to shield them from other particles that could smother dark matter signals.

“We are pretty sure now that this is not a statistical fluke,” said astrophysicist Frank Halzen, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who heard Bernabei’s talk at the conference. “We should pay attention to this. We should not just ignore it,” he told the New Scientist journal.(THE GUARDIAN)

Out Loud 對話練習

Jim: What are you doing?

Jen: I’m looking for my calculator so I can figure out my bills.

Jim: What do you need a calculator for? Paying your bills isn’t rocket science.

Jen: I know, but I want everything to be done properly.

Jim: Try doing the math in your head. Your brain needs exercise, too. Remember, use it or lose it!

吉姆:妳在幹嘛?

珍:我在找我的計算機好計算我的帳單。

吉姆:妳為什麼需要計算機?付帳單又不是什麼難事。

珍:我知道,我只是想要好好處理每件事。

吉姆:那妳就用心算算啊,妳的腦袋也需要練習,記住,腦袋不用是會生鏽的!

isn’t rocket science 非難事

If you say that something isn’t rocket science, you mean that it isn’t that difficult to do. The phrase is almost always used in the negative and is pretty sarcastic. For example, “This isn’t rocket science. In fact, I think a monkey could do it.”

如果你說某事「isn’t rocket science」,表示這件事執行起來並不難,這個片語幾乎都用於否定句,而且極具嘲諷意味。例如:「這又不是什麼難事,事實上,我想連猴子都可以做好」。


正在尋找一種看不見的物質的科學家宣稱,他們已在義大利的一座山底下偵測到這種遍及宇宙,且能將星系團綑綁在一起的物質。

這項發現可望結束科學家們七十年來競相尋覓「暗物質」的情況;該研究團隊的實驗室設在阿布魯其的巨石峰地底。物理學家認為宇宙絕大部分是由「暗」物質主導。

暗物質存在這項假設最早在一九九三年由一位瑞士天文學家提出,他觀察發現,遙遠的星系團間必定是被某種看不見的物質形式所產生的極大引力綑綁在一起。「暗物質」之所以得名,是因為它既不會發光,也不會反射光線。

由羅馬大學的莉塔.伯納貝博士所帶領的研究團隊宣稱,巨石峰實驗室內一個巨大的偵測儀已經偵測到暗物質的訊號許多團隊反覆檢驗後,該訊號顯示暗物質可能是由一種叫做「軸子」的理論粒子組成。這項發現在威尼斯的一場物理研討會上發表,這項實驗是為了探測地球在太空所飛越的暗物質而設計。

科學家們不太可能將此單一發現當成鐵證;許多人表示,這項發現必須經由世界各地才能確定他們是否終於讓暗物質露出一線曙光。今年年初,英國研究人員利用北英格蘭一個老舊鹽礦深處的實驗室進行偵測,成為最新加入搜尋行列的團隊;為了不讓其他粒子覆蓋過暗物質的訊號,這些實驗室都設置在地底。

「我們現在相當確定,這不是一個統計上的偏差,」威斯康辛大學麥迪遜校區的天體物理學家法蘭克.赫辛聽到伯納貝在研討會上的講解後,對《新科學人雜誌》表示:「我們應該重視、不應該忽略這個發現。」

(衛報�翻譯:袁星塵)

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