Unfortunately, the big bang theory is not yet a fully complete explanation, because the so-called dark material which the mathematics rely upon, in order to explain the varying levels of heat present in the background radiation left over from the big bang, hasn’t yet been directly observed.
The best brains in physics indicate that dark matter does indeed exist, because of the predictions that can be made and tested against the effects it has on everything else around it. But that pesky old problem of irrefutable evidence demands that scientists do all they can, beyond a reasonable doubt to prove, that it is indeed really there.
Ever since the 1960s, when the big bang theory first stepped ahead of the prevailing explanation on universe origins, the so-called steady state hypothesis, science has attempted to build a sufficiently large enough laboratory to carry out experiments on the atom itself, by slamming the constituent particles surrounding the nucleus together and watching what happens to the bits that fly off.
In the billionths of a second after this impact, dark matter, it is predicted, gives mass to the fundamental elements it interacts with – hence allowing them (after a VERY long time) to cluster together and form galaxies, built one atom at a time. If, on the other hand, dark matter does not exist, according to current mathematical models, there is no way of explaining why this bunching together of constituent particles occurs and the big bang as a theory begins to fall apart. Without bunching, nothing has any mass. Without mass, there is no space time. Without space time there is no gravity.
In short, without dark matter, the soup of material which came into being after the big bang, would have remained just that – a mass-less goop, incapable of bunching up into different elements, like iron, carbon and eventually, given the perfect mix of time, water and electricity, evolve into living bacteria, sea algae, then land vegetation, then fish, then monkeys, before eventually culminating in the ultimately evolved life-forms. You, me – even Republicans – we’re all made from the same material, which can only be fully understood, if predictions about the existence of dark matter are proven correct.
In this BBC documentary, Professor Brian Cox visits Geneva to look around Cern Laboratory’s Large Hadron Collider – the biggest science experiment ever built. The LHC will be switched on next Wednesday, the 10th of September, 2008. Inside the ring, under the Swiss / French border, four detectors will – over the next few years – either establish once and for all the existence, behaviour and properties of dark matter, or point the whole world of physics off in an entirely new direction, in the search for the ultimate truth to the ultimate question of how the universe and everything in it, first came into being.
Compare and contrast the joyful anticipation of the scientists who have spent their entire lives waiting to be proven wrong, with the arrogant ignorance of fundamentalist religious certainties and you begin to see how far we have to go in convincing all the people of planet earth just how amazing we really are.
EDIT: Google have removed this video. For the time being, you’ll have to look for it on UseNet – where I posted it to the newsgroup alt.binaries.documentaries. I’ll be re-submitting it to Google Video, under a different username soon.