Mining for dark matter

Apr 23, 2008

While much of the attention in the world of high-energy physics is focused on the Large Hadron Collider nearing completion at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) near Geneva, Switzerland, other physicists, including some from UC Davis, are working on a much lower-budget experiment that will sit in an abandoned South Dakota goldmine.

The National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy recently approved $1.2 million in funding for the LUX (Large Underground Xenon) detector, about half the cost of the project. LUX will look for evidence of particles of dark matter, thought to make up a quarter of the content of the universe.

"LUX is not so much rocket science as about being very careful," said Robert Svoboda, a physics professor at UC Davis who with Professor Mani Tripathi is a co-investigator on the project. "We're dealing with very low energies where events are very hard to see."

The detector will consist of about 600 pounds of liquid xenon suspended in a 25-foot-high tank of extremely pure water, located 4,800 feet underground in the Homestake mine near Lead, S.D. If dark matter particles called WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles) exist, then they should occasionally bump into the nucleus of a xenon atom and give off a flash of light.

For physicists, detecting dark matter "would be the biggest deal since finding antimatter in the 1930s," Tripathi said.

The deep-mine location and the water tank are designed to block radiation that would interfere with detecting the rare, low-energy events. The researchers are testing everything down to the epoxy glue to remove the smallest traces of radiation.

"This will be one of the least radioactive places on Earth," Svoboda said.

The mine closed in 2000. In 2004, the state legislature created the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority to develop the mine as an underground laboratory, and in 2007 the National Science Foundation selected the mine as the site for a national Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). LUX will be the first major experiment installed at the site.

Water is currently being pumped out of the mine, and the researchers hope to begin assembling the experiment in late summer or fall this year.

Source: University of California - Davis

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User comments : 6

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2 / 5 (2) Apr 24, 2008
Prediction: they won't find any!

not rated yet Apr 24, 2008
lol, you put my comment on your page? Thanks man.

While I don't disagree with your prediction, I think it will have more to do with the sensitivity of the experiment and rarity of particles they're looking for (should they exist).

It is unfortunate that the public only ends up with with a "yes" or "no" as to the success of the experiment when certainly there must be quite a bit of interesting data recovered that we never hear about.

Regarding "Anti-Gravity Matter," your rebuttal was "the closest anti-gravity matter is several light years away and would also be rather difficult to catch." Yet you seem to indicate that AGM is quite pervasive throughout the Universe, not to mention in our local galaxy as you believe it is the shaping force of such; yet suddenly it's "several light years away" out of reach and you have no understanding of how to interact with it?

Where are your testable predictions? Yes, I know you have 1-4 at the bottom of the page, but lets be honest:

1. A computer model is not a physical experiment.
2. You indicate no scientific method to go about establishing or locating said particle.
3. Is an established observation not a prediction plus no calculations.
4. Is valid prediction, but where are your numbers? You can't just say "oh looked they returned, bam! AGM exists, told ya!" There's a myriad of variables to take into consideration and you're ignoring them all for no other reason than to promote a pet theory you're entrenched on.

Now you make take this all as an insult or an attack, but I applaud your work and investigation into the (anti-gravity) matter... But lets get serious, when you're challenging a true blue $1.2 million physical experiment against some pictures and text on a webpage and pdf, there's a point where you need to start backing up your claims.
1 / 5 (1) Apr 24, 2008
Thanks earls it is appreciated. As stated on the website a star will repel AGM and push it away a few lightyears. As for evidence what more can I do? I believe I have shown how AGM can be used to explained a load of phenomena that are otherwise mysteries.

not rated yet Apr 24, 2008
Quite a complex subject, all we can do is wait for those with better funding and greater resources to hopefully give us an honest assessment of the collected data and information.
not rated yet Apr 25, 2008
Since the discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating (via the hypothesized "dark matter" which does indeed sound antigravitational), has the age of the universe been revised? Last I heard it was 13.8 billion years old but I'm pretty sure that was based on a decelerating but approximately constant expansion rate. I'm a bit of a newb...
1 / 5 (1) Apr 26, 2008
In a discontinuous universe a small family of quantum forces is necessarily introduced that is not operative through the integrated fabric of space-time, but rather through a synchronous and timeless quantum mode that is orthogonal to space-time. Matter is not at the blind beck and call of gravity. Late in life Einstein wrote:I consider it quite possible that physics cannot be based on the field concept, that is, on continuous structures. Then nothing remains of my entire castle in the sky, including the theory of gravitation, but also nothing of the rest of modern physics.(In a letter to a friend in 1954, the year before he died.) The point is that in a discontinuous universe a very different perspective of celestial dynamics necessarily results that is consistent with the evidence. For more see Unified Theories, Fantasy, and Cosmic Order at

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