When astronomers like Fritz Zwicky and Vera Rubin made observations of cosmic bodies not quite adhering to Newton’s gravitational laws, it led the field of cosmology to attribute the effects to unseen “dark matter.” But what if it’s the laws themselves that don’t apply to our observations? Just as Newtonian mechanics breaks down at relativistic speeds, perhaps there is a “blind spot” in its accounting for phenomena like Dark Matter. What do you think of this tension? What are the risks and rewards of retrofitting new observations on established physical laws versus attempting to extend the laws themselves?
It was the Israel physicist Milgrom who suggested the MOdified Newtonian Dynamics, MOND, which from the beginning solved the puzzle of the galactic rotation, confirming several predictions since then. Zwicky’s idea was the stroke of a genius at the time, and Rubin did no less. Of course it was necessary to try to find this unseen matter. A survey with the HST revealed about 10 times more unseen galaxies than accounted for so far. The gap is closing. Consequently, I think that both ways need to be taken: Observe, evaluate – and don’t rule out anything prematurely.
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