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Natalie Roe Named Berkeley Lab’s Associate Director for Physical Sciences 

Natalie Roe, who joined Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) as a postdoctoral fellow in 1989 and has served as Physics Division director since 2012, has been named the Lab’s Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) for the Physical Sciences Area. Her appointment was approved by the University of California today and was effective July 1, 2020. The announcement follows an international search. 

Site of LUX-ZEPLIN Dark Matter Search Project Carefully Ramps Up Science Work

The Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota, which is home to the LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter search project, has begun a transition toward increased operations.

Dark Matter Experiment’s Central Component Takes a Deep Dive – Nearly a Mile Underground

Last week, crews at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota strapped the central component of LUX-ZEPLIN – the largest direct-detection dark matter experiment in the U.S. – below an elevator and s-l-o-w-l-y lowered it 4,850 feet down a shaft formerly used in gold-mining operations.

Setting a ‘Gold Standard’ for Ultrasensitive Particle Detectors

Alan “Al” Smith was a pioneer in the “low-background counting” performance of particle detectors – their ability to see ever-fainter signatures of particle interactions. He developed the gold standard for measuring trace levels of radioactivity in materials and components.

Massive New Dark Matter Detector Gets Its ‘Eyes’

The LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter detector, which will soon begin its deep-underground search for particles thought to account for most matter in the universe, now has “eyes.”

Acrylic Tanks Provide Clear Window Into Dark Matter Detection

Scientists have a new window into the search for dark matter – an acrylic vessel that features a grouping of 12-foot-tall transparent tanks with 1-inch-thick walls. The tanks, which will surround a central detector for a nearly mile-deep experiment under construction in South Dakota called LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), will be filled with liquid that produces tiny flashes of light in some particle interactions.

A Supercool Component for a Next-Generation Dark Matter Experiment

A large titanium cryostat designed to keep its contents chilled to minus 148 degrees has completed its journey from Europe to South Dakota, where it will become part of a next-generation dark matter detector for the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) experiment.

Early Career Spotlight: Zach Marshall Searches for Supersymmetry

Just five years after joining Berkeley Lab as a Physics Division fellow, Zach Marshall is co-leading an international team of researchers in search of supersymmetry — the theory that every known particle has a “superpartner” particle. Now with funding from an early career award announced last November, Marshall and his team are building a powerful super-scheduling platform that will help particle physicists process more data faster without investing in costly new computing infrastructure.

Next-Gen Dark Matter Detector in a Race to Finish Line

The race is on to build the most sensitive experiment designed to directly detect dark matter particles known as WIMPs. The LUX-ZEPLIN project has formally cleared a key construction milestone that will propel it toward its April 2020 goal for completion.

Notes from the Particle Physics Underground

The town of Lead South Dakota has a hidden gem: an enormous, underground mine that’s been retrofitted to accommodate large-scale particle physics experiments. These slideshows and videos give a sense of what it’s like to descend 4,850 feet below the surface and work on projects that could shine light on fundamental truths about the universe.