Friday, 27 May 2016

Does dark matter cause cancer?

A quick post today while I distract myself from the stack of marking that piles up at this time of year.  This is one I fully expect to appear on the front page of the Daily Mail or the Express:  I saw today that there is a new article in the journal Physics Letters B entitled Dark Matter as a Cancer Hazard.  I haven't read it in detail (perhaps someone who does could make their own post or comment below) but it's an assessment of whether some popular candidates for dark matter could undergo the same kind of interaction with atomic nuclei that might cause a DNA mutation that other kinds of known radiation can do.  

We don't know if the kind of dark matter used in the paper even exists.  If it does, there's not a whole lot we could do about it anyway, but it'd be kinda interesting if it is a background cause of cancer -- and it would mean that we effectively have detected this kind of dark matter without realising it