Re: Exotic Matter?

Murphy (
Sat, 28 Dec 1996 17:52:55 -0500

Steve Alley wrote:
> I was recently reading a book that made an effort to prove God through
> cosmological sciences, and it hinged a large portion of its argument on the
> existance of "exotic matter" (gravitons, neutrinos, etc.). I had heard
> the existance of such substances hypothesized, and knew the names from
> science fiction shows and novels (Yes, I'm a trekie), but I hadn't heard
> that they had ever been proven. Maybe I'm just in the dark, but has the
> existance of "exotic matter" been authenticated and documented? The book
> is rather old, so if it had been at the date of its authorship, I must be
> really behind the times.

Several types of neutrinos have been well studied in many
experiments. Their are still some unanswered questions about them
(especially whether or not they have non-zero rest masses) and they have
unusual properties (because of their weak interaction), but they are
routine enough entities for physicists that they are hardly "exotic".
Gravitons are the theoretical quanta of the gravitational field, and
it would be extremely surprising & upsetting to present theories if
they didn't exist. But they have not been detected experimentally yet &
probably won't be for some time, primarily because gravitational
radiation from any conceivable sourceis very weak. Alas, the way
neutrinos & gravitons are invoked on Star Trek in generally nonsense.
There are more exotic theoretical entities which _may_ exist -
"axions", "photinos", "squarks" &c. Some of these _might_ provide some
of the hypothesized cosmological "dark matter", but that, if it exists,
could be more routine stuff. Marcia Bartusiak's _Through a Universe
Darkly_ is a decent popular presentation of the dark matter problem,
with Chapter 9 dealing with some of the more exotic forms of matter.
George Murphy