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No. 41: Sep-Oct 1985

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Wimps in the sun?

For over two decades now, physicists have been measuring the neutrino flux emitted by the sun -- and despite all attempts this flux is much too low. It just doesn't jibe with what theorists say should be happening in the thermonuclear powerhouse in the sun's interior. J. Faulkner and R. Gilliland have conceived a solution to this dilemma. They postulate a large population of WIMPS (Weakly Interactive Massive Particles) orbiting the sun's core, but still well beneath the sun's visible surface. The WIMPS help convey heat out of the core, thereby cooling it to temperatures significantly less than those predicted by the astrophysicists. A cooler core emits fewer neutrinos, bringing theory into line with reality. And just what are these WIMPS? One suggestion is that they are photinos, a particle suggested (but not proved) by recent experiments at CERN (SF#37)

(Thomsen, D.E.; "Weak Sun Blamed on WIMPS," Science News, 128:23, 1985.)

Comment. WIMPS represent just the kind of particle that Dewey Larson railed against in his book: The Universe of Motion. He maintains that astronomers have to engage in such ridiculous theoretical gymnastics and invention only because they have picked the wrong energy-generating mechanism for stars and refuse to give it up! Larson's theory, on the other hand, solves this and many other astronomical problems, but at the initial cost of a radical change in one's conception of the universe.

From Science Frontiers #41, SEP-OCT 1985. 1985-2000 William R. Corliss