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Katherine Freese headshot
April 13, 20174:00 pm – 5:00 pm (CDT)

Distinguished Lecture: The Dark Matter in the Universe


Katherine Freese (University of Michigan)


Melanie Becker



Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy

College Station, Texas 77843

Event Details

What is the Universe made of? This Question is the longest outstanding problem in all of modern physics, and it is one of the most important research topics in cosmology and particle physics today. The bulk of the mass in the Universe consists of a new kind of dark matter particle, and the hunt for its discovery in on. I'll start by discussing the evidence for the existence of dark matter in galaxies, and then show how it fits into a big picture of the Universe containing 5% atoms, 25% dark matter, and 70% dark energy. Leading candidates for the dark matter are Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (wimps), axions, and sterile neutrinos. I will focus on wimps, a generic class of particles that are electrically neutral and do not participate in strong interactions, yet have weak-scale interactions with ordinary matter. There are three approaches to experimental searches for WIMPS: at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva; in underground laboratory experiments; and with astrophysical searches for dark matter annihilation products. Currently there are claimed detections in multiple experiments --- but they cannot possibly all be right. The results are puzzling and the hints of detection will be tested soon. At the end of the talk I'll turn to dark energy and its effect on the fate of the Universe.

Video Recording

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