Dark Matter



Extra Dimensions


For more than 30 years, physicists have been studying a class of theories known as supersymmetry. These theories postulate that the two types of particles found in our universe (bosons and fermions) cannot exist without each other. According to supersymmetry, for each type of fermion which exists, there must also exist a boson with many of the same properties - known as its superpartner.

If supersymmetric were to be discovered, it would be perhaps the biggest discovery in physics since anti-matter was confirmed to exist in 1932.

In many supersymmetric theories, the lightest superpartner particle is stable and weakly interacting, making it a good candidate for the dark matter of our universe. In particular, the lightest of four particles known as neutralinos is a very promising possibility.

If supersymmetry does exist in nature, it is very likely to be discovered in the next few years. A particle accelerator called the Tevatron is currently attempting to discover supersymmetry at Fermilab (where I work). An even more powerful experiment, the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, is scheduled to begin operation in 2008.