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The latest developments in dark matter to be discussed in Santander


From 29 May to 2 June, the IFCA is organising the dark matter conference 'Dark Matter 2023: From the Smallest to the Largest Scales', at the Hotel Chiqui in Santander

30 May 2023

A total of 87 researchers are meeting at the Hotel Chiqui in Santander this week to discuss the latest theories on dark matter at the event 'Dark Matter 2023: From the Smallest to the Largest Scales', organised by the Institute of Physics of Cantabria (IFCA, CSIC-UC), in collaboration with the Santander City Council and the Government of Cantabria. 

Carlos Beltrán, Vice-Rector for Research and Science Policy at the University of Cantabria, was in charge of inaugurating the event and encouraged the attendees to take advantage of this type of meeting and "advance in the knowledge of our universe" in a "leading" centre in this field "such as the Physics Group of the University of Cantabria and the IFCA", said Beltrán. 

Carlos Beltrán, vice-rector for Research and Science Policy, with Bradley J Kavanagh, IFCA researcher specialising in dark matter and one of the organisers of the event.

This is the first time that these physicists and physicists from different nationalities and leading research centres and universities have met in person to learn about and discuss the latest findings in the field of dark matter, which encompasses disciplines such as cosmology and particle physics, including the direct search for dark matter, the search for axions (an axion is a particle that makes up dark matter) with haloscopes, findings in neutron stars, and the latest advances from the James Webb Space Telescope and its relationship with dark matter.

The study of dark matter is necessary to explain the motions of galaxies and some of the current theories about their formation and evolution, such as the galaxy that contains our solar system, the Milky Way, which, according to several investigations, is thought to be enveloped by a much larger halo of dark matter. In fact, the ordinary, the visible matter, is known to occupy only 5% of our cosmos, but dark matter, which makes up 85% of the matter in the universe, has not been detected. The reason is that dark matter does not emit light or absorb electromagnetic waves, so it is really difficult to observe. 


This is why this kind of congresses are necessary, and in this one, throughout 65 seminars and several round tables, research projects such as ANAIS-112, developed by the researcher María Martínez (CAPA - UZ), and based on the DAMA/LIBRA experiment which, from the Gran Sasso National Laboratory (LNGS), has obtained new data using machine learning techniques that analyse with great precision the state of dark matter, are discussed. Or the DAMIC-M experiment, where the IFCA´s IP is Rocío Vilar, and is based on the direct search for dark matter from a laboratory in a mine, 2 kilometres underground in Canada.

In addition, the latest observations of galaxies from the James Webb Space Telescope and their importance in the study of dark matter, is the focus of these days, led, for example, by Giorgio Manzoni, researcher at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS). In particular, he explains how, thanks to the model they have developed, they are able to know to what extent the merging of galaxies is sensitive to the nature of dark matter.

For IFCA researcher and one of the organisers, Bradley J. Kavanagh, "in this field of study there can always be surprises and there are very important collaborations at this meeting," he says, "I'm keeping my fingers crossed that something interesting will happen during these days and new results will emerge". 

The event's organising committee is made up of the following team of researchers: José Luis Bernal, Tom Broadhurst, Alicia Calderón, Nuria Castello-Mor, David Cerdeño, Jose M. Diego, Christian Gimeno, Sven Heinemeyer, Diego Herranz, Pratibha Jangra, Bradley Kavanagh, Enrique Martínez-González, José María Palencia, Alberto Ruiz and Rocío Vilar.

A total of 87 participants are attending the event to share research and experiences with fellow dark matter researchers.

Rebeca García / IFCA Comunicación

  • Joint Centre with the combined effort of Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and University of Cantabria (UC)

    Instituto de Física de Cantabria
    Edificio Juan Jordá
    Avenida de los Castros, s/n
    E-39005 Santander
    Cantabria, Spain

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