Feeds

Dark matter hits you once a minute

We all get whacked by WIMPs

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPS) hit you about once a minute, according to a new paper titled Dark Matter collisions with the Human Body.

That’s not something to be unduly worried about, as the paper suggests billions of WIMPs pass through our bodies every minute without so much as nudging a particle. That they do so is, as the paper explains, attributable to the fact that WIMPs are “electrically neutral and do not participate in strong interactions, yet have weak inter-actions with ordinary matter.” Those qualities make them a “leading candidate” to fill in the blanks in the quest for “dark matter”, the missing bits of the universe we’d all really like to know about so that equations about life, the universe and everything produce neat answers.

Researchers Katherine Freese and Christopher Savage reach the estimate of one WIMP hit a minute by using the results of WIMP-detection experiments DAMA, CoGeNT and CRESST. While noting that opinion about the results of those experiments is far from settled, the pair come up with an overall WIMP prevalence figure and also discuss measurements of just what happens when WIMPs bump into different elements.

The paper then considers the kinds of matter present in human bodies, assumes an average body weighing 70kg and arrives at a conclusion that "as many as 105 WIMPs hit a nucleus in the human body in an average year, corresponding to almost one a minute."

The paper has caveats galore, given that WIMPs are hard to spot and aren’t confirmed as dark matter. And of course let’s not forget that no-one has seen a WIMP bump into a person. If you could see such a thing, the paper explains that WIMPs appear to transfer momentum, and not much else, to nuclei.

So don’t get excited about WIMPs as a way to get a little energy boost. Coffee seems still to be your best bet. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.