Searching for dark matter from the laboratory to the cosmos
There is overwhelming gravitational evidence for the existence of dark matter (DM). Yet we still have no idea what its microscopic nature is. For decades, we have been extensively searching for a class of particles called WIMPs (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles). However, after decades of search, we have not yet seen a clear signal of WIMPs. This has compelled us to consider a broader program based on new theoretical directions and search strategies, all the way from ultralight particles called Axions to Ultraheavy objects called primordial blackholes. In this talk, I will provide a review of the current status of DM searches and discuss some interesting theoretical and experimental directions to detect dark matter beyond WIMPs. I will focus on DM that is lighter than protons, but heavier than electrons in mass.
My name is Gopolang Mohlabeng. I was born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa. I hold a bachelor's degree in physics from the Universities of Pretoria in South Africa. I earned my M.Sc and Ph.D from the University of Kansas after which I moved to Brookhaven National Laboratory as a postdoctoral research associate. I then moved for a position as a postdoctoral fellow in the McDonald Institute for Astroparticle Physics at Queen's University in Canada. After a year at Queen’s, I moved to the University of California, Irvine as a UC Chancellor's Advanced Postdoctoral fellow. I recently started a position as Assistant professor in the Physics department at Simon Fraser University. My specialty is particle theory and my research lies at the intersection between particle and astro-physics. My main research focus is on phenomena beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. In particular, uncovering and understanding the particle nature of dark matter.