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Lecture Dec 19 – How to be Really Good at Not Finding Dark Matter

Science at Cal Lecture Series

How to be Really Good at Not Finding Dark Matter

with Bob Jacobsen

Saturday December 19, 2015 at 11:00 AM
100  Genetics & Plant Biology, UC Berkeley

 

Astronomers have found evidence for something that exerts a gravitational pull on stars, galaxies and even large parts of the Universe, but that doesn’t otherwise seem to do anything interesting. Knowing little more about it, they call it Dark Matter. Physicists want to detect and study something strange like that, so we build detectors. Very, very sensitive and quiet detectors that have to be buried deep within the Earth to get them away from any sorts of false signals. One of these detectors, LUX, is located in Cal’s old gold mine. It has looked for several years without finding any signs of Dark Matter, which is really, really interesting.

Come hear about some fun things:
How do people find such weird things?
Why look on Earth for something found in the sky?
What’s good about _not_ finding Dark Matter?
How do you know your detector isn’t just broken?
Gold mine? What gold mine?

Image: NASA-ESA, 2007

 

Prof. Bob Jacobsen

Bob Jacobsen
Prof. Bob Jacobsen has been on the Berkeley physics faculty for about 20 years. Originally trained as an electrical engineer, he’s now spending his time on experiments that study the fundamental properties of matter, anti-matter, and dark matter. Sometimes these involve worldwide collaborations, huge computer systems and lots of meetings; sometimes they involve going inside mountains or building tricky little bits of electronics. As a teacher, Bob focuses on undergraduate education, particularly courses that help students see thing in new ways such as Physics for Future Presidents. He is currently serving as Interim Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

 

This free public talk is presented as part of the monthly Science at Cal Lecture Series
Event Contact: scroft@astro.berkeley.edu

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