Elena Aprile, Ph.D.Professor, Physics, Columbia University
Simons Foundation Lectures are free public colloquia related to basic science and mathematics. These high-level talks are intended for professors, students, postdocs and business professionals, but interested people from the metropolitan area are welcome as well.
What is the dark matter that makes up 85 percent of the universe’s mass? Scientists have been asking this question for decades and have employed a variety of experimental approaches, both on Earth and in space, to answer it. Yet, the nature of dark matter remains a mystery.
In this lecture, Elena Aprile will discuss the latest efforts to illuminate the nature of dark matter. An answer to this fundamental question will likely come from ongoing and future searches with accelerators, indirect and direct detection. Detection of a dark matter signal in an ultra-low background terrestrial detector will provide the most direct evidence of dark matter’s existence and will represent a ground-breaking discovery in physics and cosmology. Aprile will focus on the XENON project and its prospects to continue to be at the forefront of dark matter direct detection in the coming decade. Among the variety of dark matter detectors, liquid xenon time projection chambers have shown to be the most sensitive, thanks to a combination of large target mass, ultra-low background and excellent signal-to-noise discrimination. Experiments based on this technology have led the field for the past decade.