Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Possible evidence for dark matter particle presented at UCLA physics symposium

Date:
March 10, 2014
Source:
University of California, Los Angeles
Summary:
Dark matter, the mysterious substance estimated to make up approximately more than one-quarter of the mass of the universe, is crucial to the formation of galaxies, stars and even life but has so far eluded direct observation. At a recent UCLA symposium attended by 190 scientists from around the world, physicists presented several analyses that participants interpreted to imply the existence of a dark matter particle. The likely mass would be approximately 30 billion electron-volts, said the symposium's organizer.

Searching for mysterious dark matter: Mysterious dark matter makes up approximately 26 percent of the mass of the universe. At a major UCLA symposium attended by 190 scientists, physicists presented several analyses that participants interpreted to imply the existence of a dark matter particle.
Credit: NASA/Hubble

Dark matter, the mysterious substance estimated to make up approximately more than one-quarter of the mass of the universe, is crucial to the formation of galaxies, stars and even life but has so far eluded direct observation.

At a recent UCLA symposium attended by 190 scientists from around the world, physicists presented several analyses that participants interpreted to imply the existence of a dark matter particle.

The likely mass would be approximately 30 billion electron-volts, said the symposium's organizer, David Cline, a professor of physics in the UCLA College of Letters and Science and one of the world's experts on dark matter.

The physicists at the Feb. 26-28 event were in agreement that "there seems to be an excess in the available data that could be due to dark matter," Cline said.

"At this symposium, it was obvious that excitement is building in the fields of dark matter theory and, especially, detection," said Cline, who noted that there are several ways dark matter can be observed and that all were discussed at the UCLA meeting.

"Because dark matter makes up the bulk of the mass of galaxies and is fundamental in the formation of galaxies and stars, it is essential to the origin of life in the universe and on Earth," Cline said.

The first evidence for dark matter was discovered in 1933 using the Mt. Wilson telescope outside of Los Angeles. More recently, various theoretical models and detector improvements have made it possible to search for dark matter particles at extremely sensitive levels -- some of the most sensitive measurements made by any scientists in the world.

One search technique involves using the vast amount of dark matter in our galaxy. The NASA Fermi Satellite Telescope, an international collaboration involving NASA, the Goddard Space Flight Center and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, searches for gamma rays -- very high-energy light particles -- from this dark matter.

There are models of dark matter that would allow a signal in the galactic dark matter consistent with the claims at the meeting and provide a small interaction consistent with the "null results" in the direct dark matter searches all over the world.

Much larger direct dark matter detectors are being planned in the U.S., Italy, Canada and China (including Xenon 3 Ton, LUX-ZEPLIN 7 Ton and DarkSide, which will weigh five tons). These larger detectors potentially could see a dark matter signal in the next few years, Cline said.

Dark matter is widely thought to be a kind of massive elementary particle that interacts weakly with ordinary matter. Physicists refer to these particles as WIMPS, for weakly interacting massive particles, and think they originated from the Big Bang. WIMPs are thought to be streaming constantly through the solar system and Earth.

Another search method is to look for an interaction of a WIMP with xenon or argon nuclei and others (like germanium) in very low-background laboratories deep underground in Italy, the U.S., Canada, China and other countries. While these experiments have seen no signal of a WIMP above 30 billion electron volts, "there is no incompatibility with the interesting excess in the FERMI data," Cline said.

The discovery of the Higgs boson, which won the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics, plays a role in the search for dark matter, Cline said, adding that this topic was discussed in detail at the meeting. Dark matter, he said, could consist of axions, WIMPs or sterile neutrinos, all of which were discussed at the symposium.

The UCLA dark matter symposium is convened every two years; this was the 11th such meeting. Cline said he and his colleagues hope to clarify the dark matter puzzle at the 2016 symposium. 

See more on last week's conference: https://hepconf.physics.ucla.edu/dm14

It was at this same dark matter symposium in 1998 that two groups of scientists reported that the universe is accelerating, as well as expanding, a finding Cline described as "one of the greatest discoveries in the history of science."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California, Los Angeles. "Possible evidence for dark matter particle presented at UCLA physics symposium." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140310212316.htm>.
University of California, Los Angeles. (2014, March 10). Possible evidence for dark matter particle presented at UCLA physics symposium. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140310212316.htm
University of California, Los Angeles. "Possible evidence for dark matter particle presented at UCLA physics symposium." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140310212316.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Russian Cosmonauts Kick Off Final Spacewalk of 2014

Russian Cosmonauts Kick Off Final Spacewalk of 2014

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 22, 2014) — Russian cosmonauts Maxim Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev step outside the International Space Station to perform work on the exterior of the station's Russian module. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) — A comet from the farthest reaches of the solar system passed extremely close to Mars this weekend, giving astronomers a rare opportunity to study it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) — Argentina launches a home-built satellite, a first for Latin America. It will ride a French-made Ariane 5 rocket into orbit, and will provide cell phone, digital TV, Internet and data services to the lower half of South America. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

NASA (Oct. 17, 2014) — Power spacewalk, MAVEN’s “First Light”, Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins