“Reheating was an insane time, when everything went haywire,” says David Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and professor of physics at MIT. As the Big Bang theory goes, reports MIT, somewhere around 13.8 billion years ago the universe exploded into being, as an infinitely small, compact fireball of matter that cooled as it expanded, triggering reactions that cooked up the first stars and galaxies, and all the forms of matter that we see (and are) today.
“We do not know what dark matter is, but if it has anything to do with any scalar particles, it may be older than the Big Bang,” says astrophysicist Tommi Tenkanen at the Johns Hopkins University, who was not part of a 2019 University of Tokyo study that proposed the axion as a candidate for dark matter. The only fundamental scalar quantum field that has been observed in nature is the Higgs field-a field of energy that is thought to exist in every region of the universe.
Miguel Zumalacarregui was a Marie Curie Global Fellow at the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics prior to joining The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Einstein Institute) in 2021. A Google Scholar, his research is directed towards finding new theoretical and observational approaches to the problem of cosmic acceleration, the nature of dark matter, and their connections to fundamental physics.
“At first, we thought it was absurd,” said theoretical physicist Asimina Arvanitaki, at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, who proposes that black holes can be thought of as nature’s particle accelerators, and how we may be able to discover new particles through detection of the gravitational waves black holes create. “I’m not surprised. How else could you respond to the idea that black holes generate swirling clouds of planet-sized particles that could be the dark matter thought to hold galaxies together? We tend to think about particles as being tiny but, theoretically, there is no reason they can’t be as big as a galaxy.”
“If dark matter were truly a remnant of the Big Bang, then in many cases researchers should have seen a direct signal of dark matter in different particle physics experiments already,” says astrophysicist Tommi Tenkanen at the Johns Hopkins University.