Science Nation: Hunting for the WIMPs of the universe

NSF Science Nation

From NSF Science Nation, 04/27/2015  --  To detect dark matter called Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, or WIMPs, you have to go a long way – down!

Dark matter is a scientific mystery. We can't see or touch it. But physicists like Dan McKinsey theorize it must exist because, without it, the universe would look quite different.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), McKinsey and a team of scientists from across the U.S. and Europe are hard at work on the Large Underground Xenon, or LUX, experiment.

Nearly a mile straight down an old mine shaft at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, S.D., the team searches for the existence of one possible type of dark matter called Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, or WIMPs. Theory holds these WIMPs are everywhere, all around us, all the time. With LUX, the team may now have the right kind of instrument to detect them.

The research in this episode was supported by NSF award #1003660, Particle Astrophysics at Yale: The LUX Dark Matter Search.

Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
Kate Tobin, Science Nation Producer


Visit the NSF Science Nation website to view additional multimedia resources related to this story.