Dark Matter Waves: From the Cosmos to the Lab

  • Speaker
  • Mariangela Lisanti, Ph.D. Associate Research Scientist, Cosmology, CCA, Flatiron Institute
    Associate Professor, Physics, Princeton University
Date & Time

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The vast majority of matter is invisible to us. The gravitational effects of this ‘dark matter’ play a critical role in explaining the cosmological evolution of the universe and the large-scale distribution of galaxies. Despite this overwhelming evidence, much about the dark matter particle remains a mystery to us, including fundamental properties such as its mass and spin. If the dark matter is ultralight, it can be treated as a classical wave with a macroscopic wavelength. Such wave-like dark matter arises generically in well-motivated extensions to the Standard Model of particle physics.

In this talk, Mariangela Lisanti will explore how such dark matter particles affect the universe’s evolution from its birth to the present day, highlighting how their wave-like nature imprints on the internal dynamics of galaxies and on compact objects like black holes. Her journey with the audience will ultimately arrive at Earth, where an extensive experimental effort is underway to directly discover these elusive particles in the laboratory.

About the Speaker

Lisanti is an associate professor of physics at Princeton University and an associate research scientist at the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Astrophysics. Lisanti received her B.A. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from Stanford University. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science, she joined the Princeton faculty in 2013. Lisanti has received several awards and honors, including a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Cottrell Scholar Award and the Simons Investigator Award.

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