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Illuminating Dark Matter with Accelerators

Nearly a century after discovering Dark Matter, we have an impressive understanding of its astronomical and cosmological properties but remarkably little knowledge of its fundamental nature. One leading paradigm postulates new fundamental particles that were in thermal equilibrium with ordinary matter in the early universe - thermal relics - where the most familiar example is a new particle that interacts through the weak nuclear force, weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs). As searches for WIMPs approach fundamental sensitivity limits, interest in the more general class of thermal relics has emerged, where these dark matter candidates give rise to clearly testable predictions in small, accelerator-based experiments. In this talk, I will review the fundamental ideas and motivations for these searches, describe how the experiments work, and discuss their ability to explore thermal dark matter, with a particular focus on two experiments, the Heavy Photon Search (HPS) at JLab, and the Light Dark Matter eXperiment (LDMX), proposed to operate at SLAC.

Speaker: Tim Nelson, Stanford University

Monday, 03/13/23


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Physics North

UC Berkeley
Room 1
Berkeley, CA 94720