A Horizon documentary on Dark Energy raised a smile for its confessions as much as anything else, in liberating Dark Matter to be all around us, after all - not just some stuff out there rolling galaxies around with invisible fingertips. And that we (as the species collective) still have no idea what it is.
There are lots of contenders. WIMPs (yes, there really are - check the link!) and sterile neutrinos, WINOs (yes, there are those too in the Particle Zoo) and shadow photons have all had a look-in on the theoretical experiments, but nothing - absolutely nothing - has landed in any of the complex (and extremely expensive) contraptions laid out to catch a particle of matter being Dark.
In addition to the conundrum of DM contenders, there is the small matter of travelling through a new quarter of the Universe as our galaxy slides into uncharted terrain, bombarded by X-waves which are also a bit misty on the identity front. In ending the Horizon documentary, the narrative finished with a plea for help. "It could be you," said the narrator, campaigning to uncover the next Einstein. "We need another Einstein," scientists are saying. Perhaps we need a thinker with a completely different approach to a Physics currently constrained by constants and constraints, relying on renormalisation (cheating) to make its maths work and rigorously fusing itself to theories that have been tried and trusted for a long time.
Thousands of young scientists out there are thinking about the quantum world right now, while dozens of TV dramas and advertised products seem desperate to slide Quantum into the title. Quantum is becoming a fashion statement. Like Infinity (another hot contender for media attention), Quantum has issues. That shouldn't stop the bright young thing destined to break symmetry from coming up with what Dark Matter is (and by default, how we relate to it.) And when they do, we shall all be very glad to cheer and clap, while other bright sparks of a different generation yell loudly from the corner, "Oh no, it isn't!" While the Punch and Judy show goes on, I'll be here to grab the Petrino when it appears.
Kathy Ratcliffe has studied quantum mechanics since 1997, leads a life surrounded by birds and animals, and is a stalwart fan of Stargate SG1.