Chasing a ‘Phantom’: Our Hunt for Dark Matter

Chasing a ‘Phantom’: Our Hunt for Dark Matter
Chabot Space & Science Center | 10000 Skyline Blvd. Oakland, California |

Event Overview

Chabot Space & Science Center

Chasing a ‘Phantom’: Our Hunt for Dark Matter

In this special Dark Matter Day ( presentation, dark matter scientists will share their experiences searching for dark matter particles using underground particle accelerators and ultra-sensitive detectors. Attendees will also see the “Phantom of the Universe” planetarium show. There will be time for Q-and-A.

There is no registration for this event, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The event is free with admission to the Chabot Space & Science Center. (Chabot admission is free to members, $18 for non-member adults, $14 for youths ages 3-12, and $15 for seniors 65 and up and for students ages 13-18 or college students with college ID.)

Speaker presentations will include:

Bringing Balance to the LHC Data (Heather Gray)
Dark matter wouldn’t appear at the LHC as a signal in the data — actually it’s quite the opposite!  Physicists at ATLAS use the basic law of conservation of momentum to “see” when something is missing from an event.  This relies on measuring each collision in the detector very precisely.  Dr Gray will explain what ATLAS measures, and how we detect when something is missing.

What’s Missing in the LHC Data (Zach Marshall)
The Standard Model of particle physics has held up for a half-century as the most precise theory ever derived.  It’s precision could be it’s downfall: with careful study of the imbalance in events at the LHC, it might be possible to find Dark Matter!  Dr Marshall will describe how some of these searches take place, and whether there might be a new Dark Matter discovery lurking around the corner.

Searching for Dark Matter Particles in a Gold Mine (Dan McKinsey)
To avoid cosmic ray interference, experiments searching for dark matter interactions must be located deep underground. One new project is the LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter experiment that is taking shape at an underground research facility in South Dakota, built in the former Homestake gold mine. LUX-ZEPLIN will look for flashes of light produced by dark matter particles when they scatter in a tank filled with 10 tons of liquid xenon.

Airing of “Phantom of the Universe”



Speaker Bios

Zachary Marshall
Zachary Marshall is a Senior Scientist in the Physics Division at Berkeley Lab. He has spent the last 10 years working on the ATLAS experiment, one of the two experiments that discovered the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN laboratory in Switzerland. He is currently leading the ATLAS group that searches for Supersymmetry, on of the most popular theories involving new particles that could be observed in the next few years.  He is also deeply involved in software development for the ATLAS experiment, including the detector simulation.

Heather Gray
Heather Gray is a Divisional Fellow in the Physics Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She splits her time between Berkeley and Geneva while working on the ATLAS experiment. She specializes in the Higgs boson and also works on silicon pixel detectors and algorithms to reconstruct the trajectories of particles passing through silicon detectors. She is currently leading the ATLAS group responsible for the detector simulation. Heather is originally from Cape Town, South Africa, where she did her undergraduate degree and spent 7 years working for CERN in Switzerland. When not at work, she can usually be found in the mountains or the ocean.

Dan McKinsey
Dan McKinsey is a leader in the field of direct searches for dark matter interactions, and serves as Co-Spokesperson of the LUX experiment. He also collaborates on the LZ experiment and is doing R&D on superfluid helium for low-mass dark matter detection. McKinsey’s research centers on non-accelerator particle physics, particle astrophysics, and low temperature physics. In particular, his work is on the development, construction, and operation of new detectors using liquefied noble gases, which are useful in looking for physics beyond the Standard Model. Applications include the search for dark matter interactions with ordinary matter, searches for neutrinoless double beta decay, and the measurement of the low energy solar neutrino flux.

Chabot Space & Science Center

About Chabot Space & Science Center

Chabot Space & Science Center inspires and educates students of all ages about our Planet Earth and the Universe.

Organizer contact information


Phone: (510) 486-5582


When & Where

  • Oct 29, 2017
  • 14:00 - 15:30
  • Location: Chabot Space & Science Center

    10000 Skyline Blvd. Oakland, California.

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