For decades, scientists have thought that some sort of mysterious and invisible “dark matter” must provide the gravity that holds the galaxies together. However, researchers still don’t know what dark matter is, as they’ve never seen any sign of it other than its gravity. That may soon change. If particle physicists’ favorite theories are correct, then within the next few years, researchers may detect particles of the weird stuff with ultrasensitive detectors deep underground, satellites peering to the heavens, or the world’s biggest atom smasher. Are researchers close to solving one of the biggest mysteries in the universe?
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Edward W. Kolb is the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Chair of the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. Rocky's research focuses on the application of elementary-particle physics to the very early Universe. He is also a co-author of The Early Universe, the standard textbook on particle physics and cosmology and author of Blind Watchers of the Sky.
Rafael F. Lang
Rafael F. Lang is a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University, trying to hunt down dark matter with detectors here on Earth. He is part of the XENON100 collaboration that currently runs the most sensitive detector to search for the so‑called weakly interacting massive particles.