Physics 427, 576B, and 585

Dark Matter and Energy / Seminar in Experimental Nuclear Physics

Physics 427, 576B, and 585

The updated schedule is posted. Check here for links to the papers under discussion.

Dark matter and dark energy are exciting and crucial frontiers in modern physics. In Autumn Quarter 2015, we are offering a seminar course in which students will learn about modern dark matter detection techniques, examine the most recent results, and hone their skills in reading physics papers and presenting physics results. There's one seminar series and three course numbers:

  • Phys 427A: 3 credits, graded (for graduate students)
  • Phys 576B: 3 credits, ungraded (for undergraduates)
  • Phys 585: 1 credit Journal Club

At each class meeting, a student or students will present current and/or classic papers on dark matter detection, and will lead discussion. Phys 427A and 576B discussion leaders will also design short assignments for their classmates.

Our first meeting was at 9:30 am on Thursday, October 1 in PAB B101. Find the syllabus here.

Time and Place

Course meetings will be in PAB B101 unless otherwise notified. The course meeting time is 9:30 - 10:50 am.

On Tuesdays, Phys 427A and 576B will meet to delve into the technical details of the week's topic. For example, how does a particular type of detector really work? What sort of backgrounds trouble WIMP searches? What types of dark matter might be out there, apart from WIMPs and axions?

On Thursdays, all three courses will meet to review the latest results from the relevant experiments.


The specific topics covered may change based on student interest. See the full schedule for details.

  • Oct. 1: Organization and overview
  • Oct. 6-8: Evidence for Dark Matter
  • Oct. 13-15: Dark Matter Candidates
  • Oct. 20-22: Semiconductor Searches (e.g. CDMS and CoGeNT)
  • Oct. 27-29: Liquid Noble Gas Searches (e.g. XENON, LUX, and DEAP)
  • Nov. 3-5: Bubble Chambers / TPCs / NaI
  • Nov. 10-12: Resonant Cavity Searches (e.g. ADMX)
  • Nov. 17-19: NMR / Fifth Force Searches
  • Nov. 24: X-ray/Gamma/Microwave Lines (e.g. Fermi)
  • Dec. 1-3: Dark Matter at the LHC and in Cosmic Ray Data
  • Dec. 8-10: Open topics: Exotic Dark Matter Candidates? Unusual Experiments?