How to build a dark matter detector - Jenna Saffin
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Designing experiments is just part of the process in the hunt for dark matter. Running these experiments in locations that protect them from background radiation is a huge challenge. Kilometers of rock works well as shielding, so lab facilities are developed underground or inside mountains. Underground labs are built in mines; some of them, like this one in the UK, are in mines that are still active. Others, like this one in the US, give new life to mines that are no longer active. Check out this video to see what it’s like for scientists going to work in an underground lab. Take a virtual tour here.
In the 1920s, scientists first hypothesized that the universe contained additional matter that we couldn’t see. But it wasn’t until the 1960s and 70s that astronomers were able to accurately measure the amount of “missing mass” in galaxies. Based on research that determined how fast galaxies rotated, astronomers discovered that galaxies had to contain more mass than visible matter accounted for or they would fly apart. Vera Rubin was one of the scientists whose work provided the first observational evidence that dark matter existed. You can read more about her work and the history of our understanding of dark matter in this article.
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