About 80 percent of all the matter in our universe is invisible. Called dark matter, this mysterious substance is known to exist throughout the universe because of its gravitational tugs on ordinary matter. Yet despite its prevalence, dark matter continues to evade direct detection. Kathryn Zurek, a new professor of theoretical physics at Caltech, has some ideas about how to change that.
“I develop theories of dark matter and then ideas for how one might experimentally detect it,” she says. “It’s risky research in the sense that we don’t know if we’ll actually detect dark matter. We need luck, hard work, and good ideas.”
Zurek received her bachelor’s degree in physics from Minnesota’s Bethel University in 2001 and her PhD in physics from the University of Washington in 2006. She served as a professor of physics at the University of Michigan from 2009 to 2014 and then as a scientist at UC Berkeley and subsequently the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory from 2014 to 2019. She joined the faculty at Caltech in 2019.
We talked with Zurek about the nature of dark matter and the search for its true identity.
Source: “Shining New Light on Dark Matter”, Whitney Clavin, California Institute of Technology