Dark matter detector set up

2012-07-14 14:16
AP

AP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

South Dakota - The world's most sensitive dark matter detector settled into a new home on Friday in an old US gold mine.

And when it starts collecting data later this year, scientists say it could lead to another breakthrough in studies of the universe, on the scale of the recent celebration over the so-called "God particle".

"Dark matter presents a much bigger problem to detect," said Tom Shutt, a physics professor with Case Western Reserve University who's working on the Large Underground Xenon detector, known as LUX.

"If we find it, it's going to be a much bigger shift in our understanding of physics."

Scientists earlier this month announced a breakthrough in the existence of the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that scientists believe gives other particles mass. It is sometimes called the "God particle" because its existence is key to understanding the early evolution of the universe.

Undetectable

Dark matter, meanwhile, is elusive matter that scientists believe makes up about 25% of the universe. They know it's there by its gravitational pull, but unlike regular matter and antimatter, it's so far undetectable.

By discovering dark matter, scientists could explain why the universe isn't made up equally of matter and antimatter. That, in turn, could explain how the world as we know it came to be.

The Sanford Underground Research Facility was unveiled in May within a closed gold mine in South Dakota's Black Hills.

The mine is useful because dark matter is too sensitive to detect in normal laboratories. By setting up LUX deep underground, dark matter should be shielded from pesky cosmic radiation that interferes with detection.

Moving the three-ton detector into place took time and care. It was wrapped in protective foam and plastic and rode part of the way underground on air bearings to protect it from even the slightest jiggle.

Nail-biter

"It was a bit of a nail-biter," Yale Physics Professor Dan McKinsey said. "We always worry there might be something you didn't think of that could go wrong."

The detector could begin collecting data as early as December.

"We're all going after the same thing: We're trying to figure out what are the basic components of the universe," Shutt said.

- AP
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
13 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Cape Town 06:03 AM
Road name: MetroRail

Train services between Nyanga/Chris Hani (Khayelitsha) and Nyanga/Kapteinsklip remain SUSPENDED - all stations on these sections are CLOSED

Kuils River 17:58 PM
Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound

ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - expect delays

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Jan 21 - Feb 18
Jan 21 - Feb 18

You may be inspired to do things that expand your mind in a big way today. You have a need to explore and a need to please....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.