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High Energy-Astrophysics | Searching for the Identity of Dark Matter

Monday, February 14, 2011
5:00 AM
335 West Hall

Speaker: Lauren Hsu Postdoctoral Researcher & Faculty Candidate (Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics)

Astrophysical observations have confirmed that ordinary matter makes up only ~15% of the observable matter in the universe. The composition of the remaining non-luminous (dark) matter is unknown.  This is a time of great excitement. Efforts on various fronts are racing to elucidate the particle nature of dark matter. I will report on recent results from the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) and discuss the status of the next experimental phase, SuperCDMS. With a collection of germanium and silicon crystals cooled to ~50 mK, CDMS is searching for the possible rare collision of a prime dark matter candidate, the weakly interacting massive particle (WIMP), with ordinary matter. I will also briefly discuss a new experimental initiative, which aims to install a highly sensitive array of sodium iodide crystals in the Southern Hemisphere with the purpose of investigating the annual modulation signal reported by the DAMA experiment.