Dark Matter Day

As a welcome alternative to the tedium of Hallowe’en (which I usually post about in this fashion), I notice that today (31st October 2017) has been officially designated Dark Matter Day. I would have sent some appropriate greetings cards but I couldn’t find any in the shops…

All of which gives me the excuse to post this nice video which shows (among other things) how dark matter plays a role in the formation of galaxies:

P.S. Lest we forget, today is also the 500th anniversary of the day that Martin Luther knocked on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg and said `Trick or Theses?’ (Is this right? Ed.)

12 Responses to “Dark Matter Day”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    A travelling preacher called Tetzel passed by Wittenberg, where Luther, a monk, was a teacher of theology. Tetzel was part of the church drive to raise money for the (re)building of St Peter’s basilica in Rome – the church we see there today – by soliciting people to pay to get their dead friends and relatives out of a place called ‘Purgatory’ (which is very hard indeed to derive from scripture…) and into heaven. Luther, disgusted, wrote against this practice and other churchly abuses and sent a letter, with 95 assertions (‘theses’), to his Archbishop in Mainz. The accompanying letter is dated “on the vigil of [meaning the day before] All Saints’ Day, MDXVII”. All Saints’ Day is November 1st. So today is certainly the 500th anniversary of that event, and it is Luther’s 95 theses that started the Reformation. He probably also nailed a copy on the door of a church in Wittenberg stating that he would debate the issues, but this is not certain. Even if he did, it is not the grand gesture that it is often taken to be today, for church doors routinely doubled as ecclesiastical noticeboards.

    • telescoper Says:

      Obviously they didn’t have blogs in those days…

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Closer than you think Peter! There were several would-be Reformers of church corruption before Luther, notably John Wycliffe of Oxford in the 14th century, but they lived before printing had been invented. Luther lived a few decades later and in the heartland of the printing press, for it was invented in Mainz by Gutenberg, and it was to the Archbishop of Mainz, Luther’s local Archbishop, that Luther sent his protest. Printing was the internet of its day.

  2. Bryn Jones Says:

    Did Martin Luther get awarded 95 PhDs from the 95 theses?

    If so, he’d have been so well qualified he should have been made Pope.


    • Anton Garrett Says:

      Each thesis was one sentence long.

      You can only get a doctorate for a single sentence if you prove a tough mathematical theorem.

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      You are, surely, more familiar with this use of the word ‘thesis’ than you realise. A philosophi cal principle due to Hegel is “thesis, antithesis, synthesis” ie if you can reconcile a statement (thesis) and its opposite then you have found a way of going deeper, to the next level of consideration.

      Although some might consider that there is an explosion when thesis meets antithesis…

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