The Personal Blog of Stephen Sekula

On to MIT

My next stop in the seminar tour is my previous workplace, MIT. I left yesterday evening for Boston, arriving around sunset. Traffic getting into the city was basically what I remembered, at least between I-84 and I-90 up by Worchester. I’ll be giving the Lab for Nuclear Science Colloquium today, my very first colloquium. Not sure how this will go, but I am very much looking forward to it!

One of the exciting things about being back here is that I can finally see the dark matter experiment that my former colleagues are building. This is another technology in the onslaught of experimental approaches to detecting and measuring the properties of dark matter. Employing a time projection chamber and a gas medium, dark matter is detected via both the magnitude of its interaction with the nucleus and the direction of the interaction. Whereas backgrounds are expected to come from all directions in the sky, dark matter interactions would occur with a favoritism toward the direction against which the earth is moving through the galaxy and around the sun. This directional measurement is one of the many tools being brought to bear on the vast puzzle of dark matter.