THE DARK SIDE OF THE UNIVERSE
This event is part of the Physics Department Colloquia Series.
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 reason for the excitement is clear: the bulk of the mass in the universe consists of a new kind of dark matter particle, and many of us believe its discovery is imminent. I'll discuss the evidence for the existence of dark matter in galaxies, and show how it fits into a big picture of our universe containing 5% atoms, 25% dark matter, and 70% dark energy. Probably the best dark matter candidates are Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs). Three approaches are taken in searching for WIMPS: at the Large Hadron Collider, in underground laboratories, and with astrophysical probes for the products of dark matter annihilation. Detections are claimed in multiple experiments - they cannot all be right. Excitement is building, but the answer is unclear. I'll then turn to dark energy and its effect on the fate of the universe.