The history of the dark matter problem can be traced back to at least the 1930s, but it was not until the early 1970s that the issue of 'missing matter' was widely recognized as problematic. In the latter period, previously separate issues involving missing mass were brought together in a single anomaly. We argue that reference to a straightforward accumulation of evidence alone is inadequate to comprehend this episode. Rather, the rise of cosmological research, the accompanying renewed interest in the theory of relativity and changes in the manpower division of astronomy in the 1960s are key to understanding how dark matter came to matter. At the same time, this story may also enlighten us on the methodological dimensions of past practices of physics and cosmology.
- Pub Date:
- March 2017
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics;
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology;
- High Energy Physics - Phenomenology;
- Physics - History and Philosophy of Physics
- Accepted for publication in Nature Astronomy. Corrected typo