Ali Sundermier

Ali Sundermier is a science writing intern in the Fermilab Office of Communication.

Visualizing dark matter is not an easy task. Although scientists have reason to believe the mysterious substance makes up about 27% of all the matter and energy in the universe, they still have yet to see it directly; they know it exists only because of its gravitational pull on the visible matter around it. An art exhibit at the Science Gallery Dublin combines art and science to illuminate the invisible nature of dark matter.

Ground-based experiments designed to study the cosmic microwave background have gotten larger and more sophisticated over time. Now, nearly 200 scientists who have up until this point worked on different competing CMB experiments have joined forces to propose a fourth-generation experiment, the largest ground-based one yet, called CMB-S4.

Some theorists have taken to designing their own experiments to broaden the search for dark matter. The trend of theorists proposing experiments has become so common that it’s almost expected of new students entering the field. The hope is that flooding the field with new ideas could finally lead to the discovery of dark matter.

If one wanted to follow the recipe for the universe, it would call for about 14 parts dark energy, 5 parts dark matter and 1 part visible matter. In a perpetually expanding cosmic landscape that reaches far beyond what even the most powerful telescopes can see, this might be hard to visualize. Physicists Katy Grimm and Katharine Leney found a solution for this: Use this recipe for the cosmos to bake a proportionally correct dark matter cake.

REFUGES, started by physicist Tino Nyawelo, aims to give refugees and other underrepresented groups the tools to succeed in STEM. Although the program is focused on increasing diversity in STEM disciplines, the overall goal is to address the academic and cultural difficulties that refugee youth face in Utah.

A specialized measuring machine at SLAC is helping scientists build precise detectors for the ATLAS experiment.