UC Irvine, Dept. of Phys. & Astron.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Anomalies and unexpected surprises in astrophysical observations may provide the first hints that lead us towards a discovery of the dark matter particle and its properties. I will discuss two different dark matter candidates and how they may provide solutions to recent (separate) unexplained observations. In the first half of the seminar, I will talk about indirect gamma-ray searches for evidence of weakly-interacting massive particle (WIMP) dark matter annihilating in dense astrophysical regions. Specifically, I will focus on the excess emission detected by the Fermi space telescope in the galactic center and discuss how recent results affect interpretations of this signal as being of either an astrophysical or dark matter origin. For the last half of the seminar I will discuss atomic dark matter as an example of the broader class of self-interacting dark matter models. I will show how this particular model may resolve outstanding puzzles in small-scale dark matter structure (cusp/core problem, too-big-to-fail problem, etc.) while also providing some unique, potentially observable signatures.