Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Exploring the secrets of dark matter

19.02.2010
Even the biggest Star Trek fan would probably have trouble understanding the technical details of the research done by Queen's University Particle Astrophysics Professor Wolfgang Rau of Kingston, Canada.

Professor Rau is the only Canadian researcher among the group of 60 scientists involved in the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search experiment (CDMS) whose latest findings are published in the latest edition of Science magazine. Professor Rau says the project is among the top two or three most important experiments on this subject in the world.

He uses a simple analogy to explain his complex search for dark matter – the difficult-to-detect particles that played a central role in the evolution of the Universe and the formation of our galaxy.

"It's kind of trying to find a needle in a haystack. But we tend to do things a little differently in science. Instead of just digging for the needle, we are looking at getting rid of some of the hay," says Professor Rau, who also holds a Canada Research Chair position in particle astrophysics.

The needle would be an interaction between a dark matter particle with ordinary matter in a particle detector, while the hay would represent interactions of particles from other sources such as cosmic radiation, referred to as "background".

Two events recorded during the CDMS experiment had the characteristics of an interaction involving dark matter particle.

"We do additional tests to see if these interactions have come from background sources or if they were indeed from dark matter particles," says Professor Rau. "We have seen these two events and so far we really can't say what it is. We have reached the limit of what our experiment can do with this configuration. Presently we are upgrading our detectors to improve our sensitivity, but eventually we plan to build a much bigger experiment at SNOLAB, the [Queen's affiliated] underground laboratory near Sudbury."

Understanding dark matter will help scientists answer basic questions about the origin of the universe.

"Dark matter makes up roughly 85 per cent of the matter in the universe and we don't know what it is," says Professor Rau. "Dark matter is responsible for us having galaxies in the first place and plays a very important role in the evolution of the universe. It is fundamental science what we are doing. If there was no dark matter, we wouldn't be here."

Michael Onesi | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.queensu.ca

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Studying fundamental particles in materials
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie

nachricht Seeing the quantum future... literally
16.01.2017 | University of Sydney

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Satellite-based Laser Measurement Technology against Climate Change

17.01.2017 | Machine Engineering

Studying fundamental particles in materials

17.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>