Oct 27, 2017 – Searching for dark matter

Grounds for Science


with Elizabeth Boulton (LBNL) and Katelin Schutz (UCB)

Friday, October 27, 2017 at 6:30 PM at Scarlet City Espresso Bar

A lighthouse on the dark cosmic shore

Most of our universe is held together by invisible material, aka “dark matter.” We have no idea what dark matter is made of or how it came to exist in the first place. Come hear about how we might solve this mystery with the recent discovery of gravitational waves from merging black holes! You’ll also learn about an alternative method of searching for dark matter that (ironically) uses light from objects called pulsars, which pulsate with more stability than an atomic clock. You won’t want to miss this chance to hear about some of the crazy stuff just sitting out there in space!

Learning from Pulsars


Katelin Schutz

Katelin Schutz is a physics graduate student at UC Berkeley where it is her pleasure to sit around all day and theorize about the universe. Sometimes she does calculations. Other times she writes code. Mostly she drinks coffee. Her most recent scientific result is that dark matter probably didn’t kill the dinosaurs. Katelin hails from upstate New York and enjoys cooking and rock climbing.

Searching for the invisible a mile underground

Dark matter is a mysterious substance that makes up twenty-five percent of our universe. We can see the effect of this matter on a huge scale – it changes the rotation of galaxies and bends light from distant astronomical objects – but we are in the dark when it comes to detecting the essential particles that constitute it. The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment is a 300 kg dark matter detector at the bottom of an abandoned gold mine. A mile underground in the Black Hills of South Dakota, LUX utilizes liquid xenon to shed light on this elusive particle.  

Intergalactic Insight from Deep within the Earth

Elizabeth Boulton

Elizabeth Boulton is a dancer, baker, graduate student in the physics department at Yale University and a researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. She studies the direct detection of dark matter. Elizabeth believes passionately that science is better when everyone is involved and has worked with Women in Science at Yale to create a welcoming and accepting environment for women and LGBTQ people.

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