Illuminating Dark Matter

Date & Time


Schloss Elmau
In Elmau 2, 82493 Krün Germany

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Registration Closed
Invitation Only

Participation is by invitation only. All participants must register.

Rouven Essig, Stony Brook University
Jonathan Feng, UC Irvine
Kathryn Zurek, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The identity of dark matter is one of the great scientific mysteries of our time. The field is currently undergoing a transformation. The odds-on favorites from earlier decades, WIMPs, are still viable, but are becoming increasingly constrained by null results from LHC searches and direct detection. The other classic candidates, sterile neutrinos and axions, are being re-examined and re-imagined, with qualitatively new possibilities emerging. Outstanding puzzles, including the value of anomalous magnetic moment of the muon, the 6.8 sigma anomaly in beryllium decays, the 3.5 keV X-ray line from galaxies, and the distribution of dark matter on galaxy scales, along with theoretical developments, are motivating new classes of candidates.

Particularly interesting are light dark matter particles and dark sectors with masses in the eV to GeV range, which could explain many of these puzzles. Moreover, several mechanisms exist that can naturally generate dark matter with the correct relic abundance in this mass range. The recent years have seen an explosion of new ideas to detect such light dark matter particles. These ideas have often emerged from theoretical physicists thinking across several disciplines — particle physics, condensed matter physics, cosmology, and atomic, molecular, and optical physics — but require expert experimentalists and instrumentalists to sharpen these ideas and bring them to fruition. These developments are allowing physicists to explore vast new regions of dark-matter parameter space.

The Symposium on Illuminating Dark Matter will bring together a diverse group of researchers to take a fresh look at dark matter, beginning with a high-level, critical re-evaluation of the field, its recent progress, and possible alternatives. The goals of the meeting are to stimulate out-of-the-box discussions, explore new ideas, forge ties with other branches of physics, and identify new and promising approaches to identifying dark matter.

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    Start Time

    The meeting will begin on Monday morning at 9:00 am in the Pavillon located at the Schloss Elmau Retreat. Breakfast will start at 7:30 am in La Salle restaurant.

    A specific meeting agenda will be posted as the date draws closer.

    Meeting Location

    All symposium activities will take place in the Pavillon located at the Schloss Elmau Retreat.


    Participants will have access to a projector and screen for computer-based talks and blackboards for those who prefer to give board-based talks.

    High-speed Internet access is available.

    Wednesday Excursion

    On Wednesday symposium activities are shortened for a guided hiking tour from Schloss-Elmau through the Partnach Gorge. The hike difficulty is moderate and will take approximately 3 hours.

    If you will participate in the hike, hiking boots or shoes appropriate for traversing rocky/wet terrain, warm clothing (e.g. a sweater), sun protection (e.g. light cap) and waterproofs (e.g. raincoat or umbrella) are strongly recommended.

    A small satchel containing a light snack and water is provided, but feel free to bring your own backpack in which to carry a camera and other items that may be useful to you.

    Dress Code

    Business casual clothing should be worn during the symposium.

    The weather can change very quickly; please bring warm-weather clothing appropriate for spring in the mountains.

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    The foundation will coordinate and purchase air and train travel to the symposium. Travel specifications can be provided by clicking the registration link above.

    Participants arriving via plane will arrive via Munich International Airport (MUC) Airport.


    The closet train station to Schloss Elmau is in Klais. Those traveling by train should book their tickets directly and request reimbursement at the conclusion of the meeting. Should you require booking assistance, please contact Meghan Fazzi.

    All participants are required to arrive on Sunday prior to the meeting’s start and attend the entire week. No accommodations will be made for partial participation.


    Passports are required.

    Local Ground Transportation

    Arrival at Munich International Airport

    The foundation will arrange for your transfer from MUC airport to Schloss Elmau via a private car. After claiming your luggage at baggage claim you will proceed through customs and to the exit where a uniformed driver holding a Simons Symposia sign will greet you.

    Travel time from Munich to Schloss Elmau is 90 minutes.

    Arrival at Klais Train Station

    The foundation will arrange for your transfer from Klais train station to Schloss Elmau via a hotel shuttle.

    Travel time from Kalis to Elmau is approximately 10 minutes.

    Departure from Schloss Elmau

    The day prior to your departure you will receive a departure letter advising on your departure time to the airport or train station via private car. Please meet your driver in the hotel lobby ten minutes prior to your noted departure time. If for any reason your flight departure time changes, please visit the front desk to update hotel staff.

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    Schloss Elmau Luxury Spa & Cultural Hideaway

    In Elmau 2, 82493 Krün
    Tel: +49 (0) 8823 18-0

    Check-in time is at 4:30 PM
    Check-out time is 11:30 AM

    Additional Night at Elmau

    The meeting concludes on Friday evening. Participants have the option to depart on Saturday following the conclusion of the meeting or depart on Sunday at no additional cost. Please note your desired departure date when registering.

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    Sunday and Saturday: Meals on arrival and departure days (including while traveling) are reimbursable by the foundation. Your meals on these days are not to exceed $115 USD.

    Monday through Friday: All meals occurring during the meeting week will be covered directly by the Simons Foundation. Participants are expected to be present for all foundation-hosted meals.

    Breakfast is served starting at 7:30 AM at La Salle restaurant. Food at La Salle is served buffet-style and is open to all hotel guests; tables are reserved for all symposium participants so that the group may dine together.

    Lunch is served daily at La Salle.

    Dinner is hosted around the hotel property at one of the restaurants. Locations are noted on the agenda.

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    Registration and Travel Assistance

    Elise Volpe, Protravel

    Meeting Questions and Assistance

    Meghan Fazzi
    Senior Executive Assistant, Simons Foundation
    (212) 524-6080

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    Any expenses not directly paid for by the Simons Foundation are subject to reimbursement based on the travel policy. Please review the policy and complete when submitting your expenses. Receipts are required for any expenses over $50 USD and are due within THIRTY DAYS (30) after the conclusion of the symposium. All expenses are reconciled through the foundation’s online reimbursement platform. Additional information regarding reimbursement is sent via email on the final day of the symposium.

    Should you have any questions, please contact Meghan Fazzi.

    Guest Policy

    It is the foundation’s policy to discourage spouses, families or others from joining participants during the meeting. Participants who choose to invite guests to come before or stay on after the meeting do so at their own expense. The Simons Foundation will not cover expenses associated with such extensions.

    Additional Nights

    Should you decide to extend your stay, Schloss Elmau will honor the conference rate of €337.50/night for up to two nights. Any nights beyond those associated with the conference are not reimbursable by the foundation.

    Please note on your registration form if you wish to extend your stay.

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