According to modern cosmological models only 16% of all matter in our universe corresponds to the known, visible matter. The other 84% is called dark matter (DM) and could so far only be observed indirectly. This is why its particle nature is poorly understood. Yet, DM played a crucial role during the evolution of our universe and thus the formation of life itself. Therefore, the understanding of DM is an important aim of contemporary physics and is pursued in this project. With this research proposal, we will endeavor to uncover the particle nature of DM by analysing the first data taken with the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA). This observatory for gamma-ray astronomy is soon entering its construction phase and will outperform current telescopes by far. This leap in sensitivity can be the decisive factor to unravel the nature of DM. Therefore, now is the time to contribute to those efforts as this allows for enough time to prepare the recording of the data as well as their analysis. Project group members will engage both in the commissioning and operation of CTA and in the analysis of the first data. We will strive to improve on current analyses by refining the background estimation and by using modern machine learning algorithms. The work will be fully integrated in the Norwegian efforts to search for DM and within the CTA community. It will help the project manager to advance her career as an independent researcher and include several measures to communicate the results to the different target audiences. The proposal connects the fields of high energy physics, astroparticle physics, cosmology and computer science as we will only be ably to truly understand DM by cornering it from all angles.
Project leader: Julia Isabell Djuvsland
Institution: Institutt for fysikk og teknologi