Carnegie Mellon University
October 13, 2017

Stanford’s Dan Akerib to Give CMU’s Bennett-McWilliams Lecture

By Jocelyn Duffy

Do WIMPs rule in the hunt for dark matter? Learn more about dark matter and the current state of the search for dark matter particles when Stanford physicist Dan Akerib gives Carnegie Mellon University’s Bennett-McWilliams Lecture in Cosmology Thursday, Oct. 26, at 4:30 p.m. in the Gates-Hillman Center’s Rashid Auditorium.

Akerib’s lecture, hosted by Carnegie Mellon’s McWilliams Center for Cosmology, will be geared towards a general audience and is free and open to the public. This is the fifth in a series of public lectures on cosmology funded by Carnegie Mellon alumni Fred Bennett (S’86) and Bruce McWilliams (S’78,’81).

Do WIMPs Rule posterThe lecture, titled “Do WIMPs Rule? The Search for Cosmic Dark Matter,” will address one of the most profound mysteries of physics ­— dark matter. While researchers have made a great deal of progress through observations of dark matter’s gravitational effects on other astronomical objects, individual dark matter particles have yet to be detected. Akerib will survey the evidence for dark matter and will describe current and future searches to detect the effects of single dark matter particles, focusing on the LUX and LUX-ZEPLIN experiments. These experiments use a liquefied xenon target to detect weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs).

Currently a professor of particle physics and astrophysics at Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Akerib has been searching for dark matter since 1990. He currently co-leads SLAC’s liquid nobles group, which is a key participant in the LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter search.

Akerib joined Stanford in 2014 after serving as a faculty member at Case Western Reserve University for 18 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and his doctoral degree from Princeton University. He completed post-doctoral appointments at Caltech and the University of California, Berkeley.