Light from Darkness? Searching for Dark Matter in the Sky

Science for the Public Lecture in partnership with the Robbins Library
Robbins Public Library, Arlington MA

Tracy Slatyer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dark matter is believed to comprise five-sixths of the matter in the universe, and is one of the strongest pieces of evidence for new fundamental physics. But dark matter does not interact directly with light, making it very difficult to detect except by its gravity. I will describe how dark matter collisions might create observable signals, and how we can attempt to pick out those signals from telescope observations. In the last few years, such attempts have unveiled fascinating new structures in high-energy light: understanding these observations may either reveal the new physics of dark matter, or probe the deep history of our Milky Way Galaxy.