Research Spotlight: Glimpse of light in search for dark matter?

Accelerator photoA group of experimental particle physicists have reported in the latest issue of the journal Science that they cannot rule out that they may have seen a glimpse of dark matter.

Physicists have been searching for dark matter – the substance that makes up most of the matter in the universe – for decades. Jodi Cooley, an assistant professor of experimental particle physics in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, is a member of the collaboration on the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS II) experiment.

The experiment is located deep in the Soudan Underground Laboratory in an abandoned mine in a national park in Minnesota.

BBC News reported on the published results in “Study hints at dark matter action,” written by BBC science reporter Doreen Walton and published to the BBC News website Feb. 11, 2010.

Cooley, quoted in the BBC article, said, “Either we had a statistical fluctuation in our background or it could be that these two events are evidence of dark matter but there weren’t enough of them to be sure.”

The scientific findings were published in the journal Science on Feb. 11, “Dark Matter Search Results from the CDMS II Experiment.”

Cooley and her colleagues earlier announced the groundbreaking CDMS findings at dual press conferences on Dec. 17. The team, known as the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search, hosted simultaneous talks by Cooley at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) National Accelerator Laboratory in California and by Lauren Hsu of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois.

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