The Frustrating Search for New Physics

by Daniel Ang figures by Aparna Nathan Particle physics says that the universe shouldn’t exist. This is a radical claim! But if the current theories that underlie particle physics are correct and complete, then the Big Bang that birthed the universe would have simply resulted in a massive flash of light. Nothing else would remain – no stars, planets or galaxies. And neither you nor … Continue reading The Frustrating Search for New Physics

Seeing the Invisible: A short history of the scientific evidence of dark matter

by Sasha Brownsberger figures by Abagail Burrus Everything you have ever touched, seen, or tasted; the air you breathe; the ground on which you stand; and the constituents of your body all consist of a type of matter that is only a fraction of all that is. In light of a series of unexpected discoveries over the past half century, astronomers and physicists have determined … Continue reading Seeing the Invisible: A short history of the scientific evidence of dark matter

New Physics from the AMS Experiment – Particle Physics on the International Space Station

In 2011 the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, or AMS, was launched into space. AMS, housed by the International Space Station and led by a Nobel Prize winning principle investigator, is commonly referred to as the most sophisticated particle physics experiment in space. The experiment was designed to study cosmic rays, a variety of high energy particles produced in space. In five years of operation, AMS has collected … Continue reading New Physics from the AMS Experiment – Particle Physics on the International Space Station

Galactic Rotation Curves Revisited: A Surprise For Dark Matter

Historically, galactic rotation curves have suggested that galaxies are surrounded by a vast amount of invisible matter, otherwise known as a dark matter halo. A few weeks ago, a team of astrophysicists published a result that completely contradicts these halo models and could even change the popular understanding of dark matter. The team found that galactic rotation curves can be calculated explicitly from a simple … Continue reading Galactic Rotation Curves Revisited: A Surprise For Dark Matter

Discovery of a Dark Matter Galaxy

Last week, astronomers announced the discovery of a galaxy that is almost entirely comprised of dark matter. At first glance, the galaxy, Dragonfly 44, is roughly the same size as the Milky Way, but only contains 1 percent as many stars. Naively, one would expect this galaxy to be torn apart by its surroundings in the Coma Cluster. However, Dragonfly 44 is composed of 99.99% … Continue reading Discovery of a Dark Matter Galaxy

Dark Matter Evades the World’s Most Sensitive Search

At the 11th Identification of Dark Matter Conference, LUX, the Large Underground Xenon experiment, announced the results of the world’s most sensitive search for dark matter. Physicists at LUX have been racing for a dark matter discovery since the collaboration’s inception. Observers in the field were aware that the LUX announcement would include more data with vastly improved performance compared to experiment’s initial run in … Continue reading Dark Matter Evades the World’s Most Sensitive Search