The award for this week’s hype goes to the people at CERN, who normally are pretty good about this, but somehow thought it was a good idea to spin the AMS-02 results in a way that makes it sound as if they provide significant evidence for dark matter. The press release has:
The international team running the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS1) today announced the first results in its search for dark matter….
These results are consistent with the positrons originating from the annihilation of dark matter particles in space, but not yet sufficiently conclusive to rule out other explanations….
One possibility, predicted by a theory known as supersymmetry, is that positrons could be produced when two particles of dark matter collide and annihilate. Assuming an isotropic distribution of dark matter particles, these theories predict the observations made by AMS…
which, is inconclusive if you read it carefully, but sure makes it sound like this was an announcement of significant evidence for dark matter if you don’t. As one might expect, this immediately led to press stories about how:
A $2 billion particle detector attached to the International Space Station has detected the potential signature of dark matter annihilation in the Cosmos, scientists have announced today…
By doing a tally of electrons and positrons, physicists hope the AMS will help to answer one of the most enduring mysteries in science: Does dark matter exist?
And today, it looks like the answer is a cautious, yet exciting, yes.
the kind of thing which, as usual, made it to Slashdot.