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BOSS Measures the Universe to One-Percent Accuracy

The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), the largest component of the third Sloan Digital Sky Survey, has measured the clustering of nearly 1.3 million galaxies spectroscopically to determine the “standard ruler” of the universe’s large-scale structure to within one percent. This is the most precise such measurement ever made and is likely to establish the standard for years to come.

First Results from LUX, the World’s Most Sensitive Dark Matter Detector

The LUX dark matter experiment at the Sanford Underground Research Facility has announced its first results in the search for weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs). Following an initial three-month run, LUX has demonstrated that it has a sensitivity limit three times better than any previous dark matter search, establishing new bounds on possible properties of WIMPs.

LUX ZEPLIN Primed to Take the Next Step Forward in the Search for Dark Matter

LUX ZEPLIN would be located inside the 72,000-gallon water tank now occupied by LUX in the Sanford Underground Research Facility’s Davis Campus, 4,850 feet below the surface. LZ’s inner vessel will hold seven metric tons of liquid xenon to detect weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs).

The LUX ZEPLIN (LZ) collaboration has received a major award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to support a year of research and development leading to a second-generation dark-matter experiment. Co‑principal investigators of LUX ZEPLIN are Gil Gilchriese of Berkeley Lab’s Physics Division and Tom Shutt of Case Western Reserve University. Bill

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Gives a Big Boost to BigBOSS

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Through UC Berkeley and the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has made a $2.1 million grant to Berkeley Lab’s BigBOSS project. The grant funds the development of key technologies for modifying the 4-meter Mayall Telescope on Kitt Peak and constructing a precision instrument to study dark energy by mapping tens of millions of galaxies and quasars over the entire Northern Hemisphere sky.

BOSS Quasars Unveil a New Era in the Expansion History of the Universe

Light from distant quasars (dots at left) is partially absorbed as it passes through clouds of hydrogen gas. A “forest” of hydrogen absorption lines in an individual quasar’s spectrum (inset) pinpoints denser clumps of gas along the line of sight, and the spectra are collected by the telescope’s spectrograph (square at right). Before BOSS, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey had collected spectra from 10 times fewer quasars (yellow dots) per square degree of sky in the accessible redshift range, which corresponds to about 10 billion years ago. By measuring the spectra from many more quasars in this range (red dots), BOSS can reconstruct a three-dimensional map of the otherwise invisible gas, revealing the large-scale structure of the early universe. (Illustration by Zosia Rostomian, LBNL; Nic Ross, BOSS Lyman-alpha team, LBNL; and Springel et al, Virgo Consortium and Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics) (Click for best resolution)

By collecting tens of thousands of quasar spectra, the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) has measured the large-scale structure of the early universe for the first time. Like backlights in the fog, the quasars illuminate clouds of hydrogen gas along the line of sight. No other technique can reach back over 10 billion years to probe structure at a time when the expansion of the universe was still decelerating and dark energy was yet to turn on.

Advancing Underground Science at South Dakota’s Sanford Lab

The Davis Campus of the Sanford Underground Research Facility is almost a mile deep in the former Homestake gold mine.

On Wednesday, May 30, the Sanford Underground Research Facility officially opened its Davis Campus, almost a mile deep in the former Homestake gold mine in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The event brought over 60 visitors including officials from federal and state government, scientists from universities and national laboratories, and local and national media. Berkeley Lab is the U.S. Department of Energy’s lead institution for this marked advance in underground science.

Lying in Wait for WIMPs

The Bullet Cluster of galaxies is shown in visible light, x-ray emission (pink), and the calculated distribution of invisible dark matter (blue). Dark matter can be measured on the cosmic scale by its gravitational effects, but no one knows what it is. WIMPs, weakly interacting massive particles, are the leading candidate. (Images NASA and Chandra X-Ray Observatory)

The LUX Collaboration is searching for the leading candidates for unknown dark matter, weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs. Located in the Sanford Underground Research Facility in the Black Hills, LUX’s 350 kilograms of liquid xenon and low background make it the most sensitive dark matter detector yet, but with the proposed LUX ZEPLIN Berkeley Lab researchers want to increase that sensitivity by orders of magnitude.

Science Underground: Going to Great Depths

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The May 30, 2012 dedication of the Davis Campus of the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), 4,850 feet down in South Dakota’s Homestake Mine, marks the official debut of research dedicated to solving some of the most challenging puzzles in 21st-century science. What is the nature of dark matter? What secrets are mysterious neutrinos still hiding? Shielded from cosmic rays by almost a mile of solid rock overhead, supersensitive experiments at the Sanford Lab’s Davis Campus are searching for the answers.

Four Berkeley Lab Scientists Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

(clockwise from top left) Peidong Yang, Eli Yablonovitch, James Berger, Bernard Sadoulet were elected to the 2012 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Four Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientists have been elected to the 2012 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honorary society founded in 1780 to recognize leading “thinkers and doers.”

The Saga of the Dark Universe Finds a Spell-binding Bard

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Excerpts from a review of Richard Panek’s “The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality,” published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on January 10: in relating the discovery of dark matter and dark energy, the author shows how physicists and astronomers at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley not only contributed to the study of dark matter but pioneered the techniques that revealed the existence of dark energy. Berkeley Lab scientists remain at the forefront of research into the nature of the dark universe.