Dark matter update

Having spread an unfounded rumor about the CDMS dark matter search last week, I thought I’d point out what’s actually happening.  This is oldish news, so some of you probably already know it, but for those who don’t, according to the CDMS web site,

The CDMS collaboration has completed the analysis of the final CDMS-II runs, which more than doubled the total data from all previous runs combined. The collaboration is working hard to complete the first scientific publication about these new results and plans to submit the manuscript to arXiv.org (http://arXiv.org) before the two primary CDMS talks scheduled for Thursday, December 17, 2009 at Fermilab and at SLAC. Jodi Cooley, the CDMS analysis coordinator and a professor from Southern Methodist University, will present the talk at SLAC at 2 p.m. PST, and Lauren Hsu, a scientist from Fermilab, will present the talk at Fermilab at 4 p.m. CST. A Web cast of Cooleys talk will be available on the CDMS Web site.

So they will be releasing results on (roughly) the date mentioned in the original rumor, and they do plan on having a paper available.  The part that’s apparently not true is the part about Nature.

I’ve heard some people speculating about the likelihood that the new results will contain something big and exciting, such as a claimed detection of dark matter.  I don’t know the folkways of this particular culture well enough to know whether the way this data release is being handled suggests a big result or not.  (I understand a bit about the astronomy and astrophysics culture, but dark matter detection experiments have mostly inherited the culture of particle physics, which is quite different.)

Anyway, like lots of other people I’ll be going to the arXiv the day the article is supposed to appear to find out.

Published by


Ted Bunn

I am an associate professor of physics at the University of Richmond. In addition to teaching a variety of undergraduate physics courses, I work on a variety of research projects in cosmology, the study of the origin, structure, and evolution of the Universe. University of Richmond undergraduates are involved in all aspects of this research. If you want to know more about my research, ask me!