Tien-Tien Yu’s research featured in Scientific American
WIMPS have been the focus of dozens of experiments because there is a strong theoretical case for their existence. They not only explain why galaxies seem to move as they do, but their existence also fits with theories in particle physics. A group of theories known as supersymmetry, devised in the 1970s to fill holes in physicists’ standard model of fundamental particles and their interactions, predict a WIMP-like particle. And when particle physicists model the early Universe, they find that particles with WIMP-like properties would survive the hot soup of interactions in just enough numbers to match the dark-matter abundance observed today.
But null results — from direct dark-matter detectors and from particle accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider — mean that, if WIMPs exist, either the likelihood that they interact with matter or their mass must be at the lowest end of initial predictions. The failure to detect WIMPs has caused the physics community to “pause and reflect” on their status, says Tien-Tien Yu, a physicist at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Many in the physics community, including Yu, are now searching for other dark-matter candidates, including through smaller, cheaper experiments.
You can read the full Scientific American article here.