New Theory Claims to Uncover the Nature of Dark Matter and Energy: It's a Dark 'Fluid'

Every few months, there seems to be a shocking new discovery or breakthrough theory that promises to finally lay bare the secrets of dark matter and energy. At this point, some scientists are claiming that the reason all these theories and observations are so challenging to unravel is because dark matter and energy don’t exist at all. At the heart of all this confusion lies Lambda CDM, the currently accepted scientific model of our universe. Any new dark matter theory is going to have to reconcile itself with Lambda CDM eventually, and that’s what the newest one, proposed by Dr. Jamie Farnes from University of Oxford, claims to do.

The essential claim of Farnes’ new paper, published in Astronomy and Astrophysics, is that dark matter and dark energy are actually one ‘fluid’-like substance that has negative mass. “We now think that both dark matter and dark energy can be unified into a fluid which possesses a type of ‘negative gravity, repelling all other material around them,” Farnes writes. “Although this matter is peculiar to us, it suggests that our cosmos is symmetrical in both positive and negative qualities.”

Another unique quality of this dark fluid is that it will spontaneously create more of itself, allowing it to have uniform density across the expanding universe. While this might seem like a pretty far-fetched concept, Farnes’ theory bears a strong resemblance to Einstein’s theories regarding the “cosmological constant,” which he later dismissed as a mistake. “Previous approaches to combining dark energy and dark matter have attempted to modify Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which has turned out to be incredibly challenging,” said Farnes. “This new approach takes two old ideas that are known to be compatible with Einstein’s theory-negative masses and matter creation-and combines them together.”

Though more research and verification needs to happen before Farnes can prove his theory, he says it provides an elegant solution to the problem of dark matter and energy: “If real, it would suggest that the missing 95% of the cosmos had an aesthetic solution: we had forgotten to include a simple minus sign.”