Dark Matter

nycbw004I am what you would call a nerd. I read popular physics books for fun. I actually find it fascinating. I am currently reading “The Trouble with Physics” by Lee Smolin. As I was reading it on the train on my way to New York and work I read of the fact that fully 70 percent of  matter in the universe is “dark matter”. Whenever I see something named dark matter  or x factor or anything similar it usually implies an ignorance of the phenomenon involved. This is basically the case here. Over the decades astronomers have done simple experiments in which they measure the distribution of matter  in galaxies in 2 different ways. In the first they simply measure all the matter they can see in a galaxy. In the second they measure the mass by observing the orbital speeds of stars. The speed of a star is directly affected by the mass in the galaxy’s gravitational field. Guess what? The 2 measurements do not agree. In fact they are off by factors of 10. 

There are only 2 possible explanations for this. Either the laws of physics are incorrect and Newton’s laws do not accurately predict the motion of stars in the gravitational field of their galaxy or there is much more mass in the Universe than we can actually see.  The first possibility is too terrifying for physicists to contemplate; Newton and by extension Einstein were completely wrong in their description of reality. The second is more tenable. There is matter in the Universe that we cannot see;  matter that does not emit light; dark matter. In this scenario it seems that dark matter is really just a lack of knowledge on the scientist’s part. 

I think this is a perfect example of how people create realities on insufficient information. We all have to do this because no one will ever have full knowledge of how the Universe really exists and is interconnected. I thought this would make a great series of photographs. Photographs where the dominant color or tone is black. Black is what will define the image;  a lack of information. Flipping through my images on the web I found one that I thought is a good jumping off point (see image above). The images are incomplete visions of reality. In each, large parts of the image will be obscured by blackness or by shallow depth of field.

Just an idea to follow through in the near future.


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