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May The Force Be With You: Scientists Discover Chameleon Dark Matter

There’s a space villain out there responsible for ripping galaxies apart and stretching out the universe with inexorable efficiency. Its name? Dark matter.

According to a study released this past Thursday by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, dark matter may have the ability to change its density and force based on the density of objects around it.

The details of the new study were included in story yesterday by International Business TimesConventional science says there are four forces in our universe: strong and weak nuclear forces, and gravitational and electromagnetic.

“Chameleon fields” could be the fifth. The original theory of a chameleon field emerged in 2004, when University of Pennsylvania physicist Justin Khoury hypothesized that a self-altering force may exist.

Berkeley assistant professor Holger Miller was quoted as saying that the chameleon field “is light in empty space” but then gets dramatically heavier when it enters an object.

The chameleon field is light in empty space but as soon as it enters an object it becomes very heavy and so couples only to the outermost layer of a bigger object, and not to the internal parts.

According to Space, a number of scientists have tried to pin down chameleon fields but without success.

In preparation for the study, scientists at Berkeley build a globe inside which they created a vacuum which reflected the force environment found in space. They placed an aluminum ball in the middle of the globe and then dropped cesium particles into the globe.

According to past theories about chameleon fields, the cesium particles should have sped up as they got closer to the aluminum sphere in the middle of the vacuum. They didn’t.

The experiment wasn’t considered a failure because scientists were able to rule out the possibility that chameleon fields interact with normal matter “more strongly than matter.”

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