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Revealing the Nature of Dark Matter
January 15, 2015 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm$7
Scientists are just now understanding that Dark Matter exists in the universe. One huge question remains: what exactly is Dark Matter? Dr. Dan Hooper will discuss possible answers using information from his ongoing research on particle physics and astrophysics.
Over the past several decades, astronomers and cosmologists have built an extremely compelling case that most of the matter in our universe is not made of atoms, but instead consists of some other substance (or substances) that does not significantly reflect, radiate, or absorb light. For lack of a better name, this material is simply known as “dark matter.”
But what is this dark matter made up? Despite many proposed possibilities, this question remains an open one. Recently, however, a signal of gamma rays has been observed from the center of the Milky Way, and may be the breakthrough that we have long been waiting for. If these gamma-rays are in fact being produced by the interactions of dark matter particles, they promise to reveal much about this elusive substance, and may be a major step toward identifying of the underlying nature of our universe’s dark matter.
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Dan Hooper is member of Fermilab’s theoretical astrophysics group and an Associate Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on the interface between particle physics and astrophysics, and in particular on the questions related to dark matter. He is the author Dark Cosmos: In Search of our Universe’s Missing Matter and Energy, and Nature’s Blueprint: Supersymmetry and the Search for a Unified Theory of Matter and Force.