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Lying in Wait for WIMPs

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

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

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

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.

Astronomers Release the Largest Color Image of the Sky Ever Made

The largest image of the sky yet made – more than a trillion pixels – has been released by the multi-institutional third Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III) at a press conference at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle. The largest component of SDSS-III is the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey, BOSS, led by Berkeley Lab scientists, now engaged in producing an even larger map of the sky.

Wriggling Neutrinos Caught in the Act

The first direct observation of a muon neutrino turning into a tau neutrino at the Gran Sasso underground laboratory in Italy confirms that indeed neutrinos do oscillate among “flavors.” Berkeley Lab’s Kevin Lesko says the result “really nails the neutrino oscillation phenomenon.”

Foiling an Attack on General Relativity

In an attempt to explain away invisible dark matter and dark energy, some theorists have offered new theories of gravity that try to improve on Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. A new study inspired by the work of a Berkeley Lab cosmologist indicates that at least one of these new theories is wrong.

Weak Lensing Gains Strength

Berkeley Lab cosmologists were part of an international team that has extended the relationship between the x-ray luminosity and the mass of galaxy clusters as measured by gravitational lensing, improving the reliability of mass measurements of much older, more distant, and smaller galactic structures. These refined measurements will benefit both the understanding of dark matter and the nature of dark energy as well.

The Evolving Search for the Nature of Dark Energy

Baryon acoustic oscillations provides a “standard ruler” for the Universe, a way to measure the details of dark energy.

The Evolving Search for the Nature of Dark Energy

Gravitational lensing, which depends on Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, directly tests its ability to predict the growth of large-scale structure.