Physicists from the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) dark matter detector will announce the experiment’s first results on Wednesday, Oct. 30, during an event at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, S.D. Media are welcome to attend this invitation-only event, which also will be webcast live by South Dakota Public Broadcasting. (A link to the webcast will be available on sanfordlab.org.)
Dark matter is a mysterious substance. Though it has little-to-no detectable interaction with ordinary matter, it is thought to be the predominant form of matter in the universe. The leading candidate particle for dark matter has been dubbed the WIMP—for “weakly interacting massive particle.” LUX is searching for WIMPs.
In preparation for this event, on Tuesday, Oct. 29, we’re inviting media to tour the LUX experiment hall 4,850 feet underground. Reservations for the underground tour must be made in advance, and interviews during the tour will be embargoed until noon Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) on Wednesday, Oct. 30. Contact Bill Harlan (below) for more information, including a schedule.
The event on Oct. 30 will be on the surface at the Yates Education Building at the Sanford Lab at 633 East Summit Street in Lead. For directions, go to http://sanfordlab.org/directions.
We will begin promptly at 9 a.m. MDT with a short briefing by Sanford Lab Director Mike Headley. An hour-long science seminar by LUX researchers will follow. They will present data from the experiment’s first run of 60-plus days. The LUX data also will be the first physics results announced at the Sanford Lab, which was built by the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority with strong support from the state of South Dakota and a $70 million donation from philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. After the seminar, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard will talk about the state’s role in this important physics research. A spokesperson for the proposed next-generation dark matter detector at the Sanford Lab will make a short presentation. Also, a representative from the Department of Energy will make brief remarks.
After the presentations, at about 11:00 a.m., there will be a question-and-answer session for media and members of the invited audience. Then scientists and others will be available for one-on-one interviews.
Underground tours will not be available Oct. 30, but the Sanford Lab Communications Department can provide b-roll and digital photographs of the LUX detector underground.
Media planning to cover the event—especially those who want to reserve a spot for the Oct. 29 underground tour—should contact Bill Harlan or Connie Walter at 605 722-4025. (Space is limited for the underground tour.)