dark matter

From Physics World, March 24, 2020: Scientists using the first year of data from the Dark Energy Survey, which is led by Fermilab, establish that there is a correlation between the positions of gravitational lenses — deduced from the stretching of distant galaxies — and gamma-ray photons. A data comparison from gravitational lensing and gamma-ray observations reveals that regions of the sky with greater concentrations of matter emit more gamma rays.

There are a lot of things scientists don’t know about dark matter: Can we catch it in a detector? Can we make it in a lab? What kinds of particles is it made of? Is it made of more than one kind of particle? Is it even made of particles at all? Still, although scientists have yet to find the spooky stuff, they aren’t completely in the dark.

From UChicago News, Feb. 6, 2020: Fermilab and University of Chicago scientist Brad Benson and colleagues use a different method to calculate the masses of distant galaxies: the polarization, or orientation, of the light left over from the moments after the Big Bang. In doing so, they demonstrate how to “weigh” galaxy clusters using light from the earliest moments of the universe — a new method that could help shed light on dark matter, dark energy and other mysteries of the cosmos.

As technology improves, scientists discover new ways to search for theorized dark matter particles called axions. Four decades after they were first theorized, axions are enjoying a moment in the sun, and may even be on the verge of detection, poised to solve two major problems in physics at once.

From Scientific American, February 2020: Collaborators from eight institutions have come together to turn a mine shaft at Fermilab into the world’s largest atom interferometer — MAGIS-100. The researchers plan to assemble the instrument in 2021 and start harnessing lasers to expand submicroscopic strontium atoms into macroscale “atom waves” soon after. Fermilab scientist Rob Plunkett comments on the mind-boggling experiment.