Student Discovers the Universe's Missing Mass

A 22 year-old solves a problem that's stumped physicists for years…on her summer vacation

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Many college students spend their summers sealing envelopes in offices or drinking beers on beaches. Then of course, some like to help others so they do service work in Africa or make unruly amounts of money on Wall Street. One Australian 22-year-old went ahead and located the mysterious intergalactic mass has astrophysicists have spent years searching for. During a summer internship with researchers at the University of Melbourne, undergraduate student Amelia Fraser-McKelvie found the missing matter that scientists have long known to remain from the early history of the universe. "There is missing mass, ordinary mass not dark mass ... It's missing to the present day," astrophysicist Kevin Pimbblet told AFP. "We don't know where it went. Now we do know where it went because that's what Amelia found."

According to an Agence France-Presse report: "Fraser-McKelvie, an aerospace engineering and science student, was able to confirm after a targeted X-ray search for the mystery mass that it had moved to the filaments of galaxies, which stretch across enormous expanses of space." The breakthrough discovery will be published the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and likely lead to improved telescope technology.

Congratulations, Amelia! For the rest of you young interns, back to licking envelopes.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.