Dark matter is a form of matter thought to account for approximately 85% of the matter in the universe and about a quarter of its total energy density. Its presence is implied in a variety of astrophysical observations, including gravitational effects which cannot be explained by accepted theories of gravity unless more matter is present than can be seen. For this reason, most experts think that dark matter is abundant in the universe and that it has had a strong influence on its structure and evolution. Dark matter is called dark because it does not appear to interact with observable electromagnetic radiation, such as light, and so it is undetectable by existing astronomical instruments.

Weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) are hypothetical particles that are one of the proposed candidates for dark matter. There exists no clear definition of a WIMP, but broadly, a WIMP is a new elementary particle which interacts via gravity and any other force (or forces), potentially not part of the standard model itself, which is as weak as or weaker than the weak nuclear force, but also non-vanishing in its strength. Many WIMP candidates are expected to have been produced thermally in the early Universe, similarly to the particles of the standard model according to Big Bang cosmology, and usually will constitute cold dark matter.

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