Category: experiments

This Is The Real Reason We Haven’t Direc…

This Is The Real Reason We Haven’t Directly Detected Dark Matter

“So we keep looking, we keep thinking of new possibilities for what it could be, and we keep thinking of new ways to search for it. That’s what science at the frontiers is like. Personally, I don’t expect these direct detection attempts to be successful; we’re stabbing in the dark hoping we hit something, and there are little-to-no good reasons for dark matter to be in these ranges. But it’s what we could see, so we go for it. If we find it, Nobel Prizes and new physics discoveries for everyone, and if we don’t, we know a little more about where the new physics isn’t. But just as you shouldn’t fall for the hyper-sensationalized claims that dark matter has been directly detected, you shouldn’t fall for the ones that say “there’s no dark matter” because a direct detection experiment failed.”

At some point, when you’re looking for an unknown, you have to give up and declare it isn’t there. Sometimes you’re right, and other times, you discover that you either weren’t looking in the right place, or weren’t looking in the right way. It took over 25 years to find the neutrino from when Pauli first proposed it; over 50 years to find the Higgs boson from when it was first theorized; and over a century to find the first gravitational wave, first predicted by Einstein’s theory in 1915. So why, then, would we give up so quickly after not finding dark matter, after only a few decades of looking under a particular set of assumptions?

Dark matter isn’t easy to find, but it isn’t supposed to be. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Learn the real reason we haven’t detected it, yet, today.

Chocolate bar in Microwave (Part-I)Here’s a fun little…

Chocolate bar in Microwave (Part-I)

Here’s a fun little experiment that anyone can conduct at home with a chocolate bar and a microwave oven.

Remove turntable from microwave (the plate that rotates)

Take a chocolate bar on a plate and place it inside microwave.

Heat for for 30-60 seconds on high.

You will notice that the chocolate would have melted in some regions and not in others (see image above). But don’t worry this is supposed to happen.



A microwave works by setting up a standing wave inside it.

The size of the oven is chosen so that the peaks and troughs of the
reflected microwaves line up with the incoming waves and form a “standing


The above is a 1D analog of a standing wave, but a 2D standing wave looks like so:



And there are nodes and anti-notes in three dimensions throughout the entire oven.

At the anti-nodes is where the wave oscillates the most

And therefore a molecule placed at the anti-nodes will rub against each other more rigorously than the ones at the nodes.

More the rubbing, more the food the gets heated up. 


This is why the chocolate in our image is melted in some regions (the anti-nodes) whether remains intact in others (the nodes).

If you take a ruler and measure the distance between two successive anti-nodes and plug it into the frequency-wavelength relationship, one can obtain the speed of light.




But the key insight that one can gather from this experiment is the visual feel for how long the wavelength of a microwave actually is!

It’s a lot of fun to do this experiment on your own.


So we encourage everyone to give it a
shot. We will take a break here and we will dwell into more microwave physics in part-II.

Have fun exploring !

Ask Ethan: What Science Experiments Will Open The Door To The…

Ask Ethan: What Science Experiments Will Open The Door To The Future?

“Provided that we have some luck, what science experiments that are going to happen withing a couple of decades could open us a way to build some sci-fi movie tech?”

The dream of futuristic technologies and what they might enable us to do – travel back in time, create artificial gravity, traverse the stars, create unlimited energy – are some of the best goals science can aspire to. While a great many of the technologies we’ve envisioned might well prove to be physically impossible, these four could immediately become reality if just one experiment, potentially within the next decade, reveals a surprise it should be able to detect. If dark matter is detected and proves to be its own antiparticle, then all we need to do is figure out how to harness it and unlimited fuel along an interstellar journey is ours for the taking. Antimatter might fall upwards in a gravitational field, having a negative mass, which would create artificial gravity and even, potentially, warp drive. And if the Universe rotates with just the right value, traveling back in time might become a part of science, not just science fiction.

There are experiments ongoing today and ones presently under design that might unlock these mysteries and more. Find out all about them on this week’s Ask Ethan!