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#366 erkenningsnummer P708816

february 4, 2015 \ newsweekly - € 0,75 \ read more at www.flanderstoday.eu current affairs \ P2

Politics \ P4

business \ P6

Bonte goes to Washington

innovation \ P7

education \ P9

Lennik LiBations

The mayor of Vilvoorde is travelling to Washington, DC, this week as the keynote speaker at a summit on radicalisation \2

Influential American website RateBeer.com has named a rural Flemish cafe as the second-best place in the world to sample beer

art & living \ P10

goLden age

Brussels cultural stalwart Beursschouwburg was founded 50 years ago this weekend by radical Flemish artists

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© Courtesy sCk-Cen

Solving a dark mystery

flemish physicists throw their weight behind race to find cause of dark matter senne starckx More articles by senne \ flanderstoday.eu

A group of European physicists believe that a ghostly type of particle known as a sterile neutrino might be behind dark matter, and they’ll soon start running experiments at the Study Centre for Nuclear Energy in Mol to prove it. If they succeed, they will change physics as we know it

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eutrinos are some of the most intangible particles in the universe. A group of European physicists are now hoping to catch a new, mysterious variety of these ghostly particles in a nuclear reactor in Mol, Antwerp province. If they succeed, they could shed light on one of the biggest enigmas in physics – dark matter. Almost three years have passed since the European Centre

for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva announced its discovery of the Higgs boson. Now, physicists from all over the world are entering the next particle race, one that is taking them into uncharted territory. They don’t have much choice, really, since the detection of the Higgs particle effectively filled in the last blind spot in the Standard Model – the theory that brings together all of nature’s particles and forces. But one of the biggest puzzles in modern physics remains: dark matter. The only thing we known about it is that it exists. And that it outnumbers normal, “atomic” matter. As its name suggests, it’s impossible to “see” dark matter since it doesn’t emit any detectable radiation.

Indirect measurements are the only reason that we know that dark matter even exists. Astronomers have noticed that many stars rotate around the centre of their galaxy at a higher than normal speed. Given the total visible mass of the galaxy and its corresponding gravitational pull, it’s impossible to explain how these stars continue to be in stable orbits. That is, unless an invisible form of matter exists that keeps them there. To solve the dark matter enigma, scientists need to know what it consists of. Since all physicists love a good hypothesis, a bevy of candidate hypotheses exists. Some proposals err on the side of caution. For instance, the Massive Compact Halo Objects (yes, that’s MACHOs) continued on page 5

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