Scientists closing in on dark matter?

Dec 19 2012, 17:50 IST
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SummaryA colloquium brought together more than 100 cosmologists, particle physicists and observational astrophysicists.

Scientists could be closing on to unravel the mystery behind the dark matter, who claim they may solve the puzzle soon by using exquisite techniques to tighten the constraints.

A colloquium brought together more than 100 cosmologists, particle physicists and observational astrophysicists in the hunt to determine what is dark matter.

Their goal was to take stock of the latest theories and findings about dark matter, assess just how close we are to detecting it and spark cross-disciplinary discussions and collaborations aimed at resolving the dark matter puzzle.

"Ten years ago, I don't think you would've found astronomers, cosmologists, and particle physicists all agreeing that dark matter was really important," said Michael S Turner, Director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago.

"And now, they do. And all of them believe we can solve the problem soon," he said in a statement.

"The excitement now is that we are closing in on an answer, and only once in the history of humans will someone discover it," said Edward Kolb, from University of Chicago.

"There will be some student or postdoc or experimentalist someplace who is going to look in the next 10 years at their data, and of the seven or so billion people in the world that person will discover what galaxies are mostly made of. It's only going to happen once," he said in a statement.

"I think it's fair to say the discovery is 'around the corner.' If we continue with exclusions, then we have to come up with better ideas," said Maria Spiropulu, Professor of Physics at California Institute of Technology.

"We want to know exactly what [dark matter] is made of. We want to know the dynamics and what it involves. A lot of work is ahead of us. Somebody said that it's not going to be as easy as finding the Higgs. Well, finding the Higgs was extremely nontrivial," Spiropulu said.

"We haven't yet found dark matter, but we are now using exquisite techniques that are tightening the constraints." Roger Blandford, Director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) at Stanford University.

"I am most impressed by the relatively rapid progress in sensitivity of yet more approaches to seeking dark matter, or particles associated with dark matter. I think the speed with which these experiments are being brought up is very, very encouraging," said Blandford.

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