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The hunt for dark matter—the missing ingredient without which our universe would not exist

Without dark matter there would be no galaxies, stars or planets. But physicists are yet to find direct proof of its existence. So where is it?

By Philip Ball   June 2019

Photo: Nasa

Most of the Universe is missing and decades of searching have so far elicited no sign of it. For some scientists this is an embarrassment. For others it is a clue that might eventually push physics towards the next frontier of understanding. Either way, it is an odd situation.

Science has hunted in vain for the missing material. Its existence has never been detected directly, only inferred from hints. Yet if the rest of what we know about the way the cosmos is structured is right,…

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