Dark matter is the dominant form of matter in the universe, and has been observed through its gravitational pull on stars and galaxies. However, the fundamental particle physics underlying dark matter is unknown. I will describe how we could shed light on this puzzle by following the journey of a dark matter particle, from its creation in the Big Bang 14billion years ago, to its interactions when the universe was ~380,000 years old and the microwave background light was being formed, and finally a peek into the future when such a dark matter particle could scatter off a crystal target in proposed direct detection experiments.
Tongyan Lin is an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of California, San Diego. She obtained her Ph.D. from Harvard in 2012 and was previously a postdoctoral researcher at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics in the University of Chicago and at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a theorist studying ways to detect the particle interactions of dark matter, including signatures in astrophysical data and underground direct detection experiments.