A Dark Matter Hunter’s Guide to the Universe

  • Speaker
  • Kathryn Zurek, Ph.D.California Institute of Technology
Date & Time


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Dark matter is a new, mysterious form of matter that holds the universe together. It is responsible for the growth of structures in our universe as large as the Milky Way that can ultimately support life. While we know that dark matter is important for the evolution of our universe, and that it is much more prevalent than ordinary matter (such as electrons and nuclei), the underlying nature of dark matter remains unknown. Still, by using theoretical ideas exploring what dark matter may be, we can search for experimental evidence about its nature.

Kathryn Zurek will review evidence for the presence of dark matter in our universe and the need for a new theory to describe the dark matter sector. She will discuss how dark matter hunters are searching for dark matter through observations on galactic and extra-galactic scales, as well as in terrestrial experiments. She will focus on the connections among these various kinds of searches, from the cosmic microwave background to observations of high-energy gamma rays in our galaxy, as well as terrestrial experiments such as those involving the Large Hadron Collider.

About the Speaker

Kathryn Zurek received her Ph.D. in particle astrophysics from the Institute for Nuclear Theory at the University of Washington in 2006. She was then a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, working on physics beyond the Standard Model, and then the David Schramm Fellow in the theoretical astrophysics group at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. In 2009, she became an assistant and then associate professor at the University of Michigan, before moving to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In 2014, she began working as a member of the Joint Particle Theory Group at the Berkeley Center for Theoretical Physics. Her interests lie primarily at the boundary between particle physics, and astrophysics and cosmology.

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