News has emerged that scientists are on the verge of understanding one of the deepest mysteries of the universe. For a long time now, physicists, cosmologists and astronomers have long puzzled over the fact that a large amount of matter in the universe appears to be missing. They call this mysterious missing material dark matter. There is also something called dark energy too, the nature of which has also puzzled scientists.
However, recently a theoretical physicist, Mindy Mellowthighs, emeritus professor of Domestic Terrain Management Theory at the Luton Institute of Difficult Sums came up with an explanation of the mystery. Recently, she noticed that as usual when she was doing her washing that several socks had disappeared from the load she got out of the machine.
‘Of course,’ she said at her recent Nobel Prize acceptance speech. ‘Nothing about this was unusual. I did wonder where all the missing socks disappeared to, but I had another load to put in and this one to hanging out on the line. So, I thought no more about it.’ That was until the next morning when she was reading an article in the eminent scientific journal Which Toaster, exploring the intricate mysteries of both dark matter and dark energy.
‘It was then that it hit me,’ she said. ‘For quite a lot of socks that I lose are dark ones.’ She did some quick calculations, which involved taking into account the number of washing loads and the theoretic mass of the socks in the world. Later, she added in the fact that if intelligent life has evolved elsewhere in the universe that it will also need socks of some description. Mellowthighs was able to prove that indeed a large part of the mass of dark matter in the universe must be lost socks.
‘Of course, more of it could be lost pens or missing sets of keys. It could even be that thing you put down only a moment ago,’ she said. ‘It is also possible some of it could be that thing we went into the kitchen to get, bit now can’t remember what it was.’
Of course, many scientist were fascinated and intrigued by her theory, working out just how many missing Earth objects – including socks – the dark matter in the universe could account for.
However, other – more sceptical scientists – were concerned that Mellowthighs’ theory. They argued that although initially attractive, could not account for how the socks and other missing local matter could become lost deep in the rest of the universe. Moreover, how the matter spreads evenly across the universe, as some maintain.
However, Mellowthighs pointed out that a combination of quantum uncertainty and dark energy could explain why all those missing socks end up in far distant parts of the universe almost undetectable by current astronomical technology.
‘As everyone who does washing or any kind of laundry knows,’ Mellowthighs explained in an article for the Scientifically-prestigious website Buzzfeed. ‘It is almost impossible to tell when a washing machine had actually completed its washing cycle and stopped.’ It is only when someone opens the washing machine door that the washing emerges from its state of quantum uncertainty. ‘That act of opening the door causes the uncertainty to collapse with a massive outflow of energy. A certain percentage of that energy is dark energy. I have calculated that the amount of dark energy built up and then released by the washing machine programme cycle. It produces enough dark energy to transport a sock – at near light speeds – deep into the heart of the universe.’
It is this discovery that quite rightly won Mellowthighs her Nobel Prize and goes a long way to explaining the profound mystery of the universe that is dark matter.