Ingredients of the Universe



Essay Series

Ingredients of the Universe

Why Dark Matter?

Dark Matter Candidates

The Search for Dark Matter

Frequently Asked Questions

The Science of CDMS

Direct Detection of WIMPs

CDMS II Detectors

Soudan Installation

Physics Goals


Menu: Ingredients of the Universe

What is the universe made of? This is one of the most basic questions humanity has had about the world surrounding us, but has proven one of the most difficult to answer. Our knowledge of matter and energy has progressed rapidly over the last few centuries, leading to a detailed understanding of nearly all of the materials and phenomena around us. Scientists have even begun to understand the principles that have shaped the evolution of our universe itself over the past few billion years.

One of the most shocking discoveries of recent science, however, is that we have much yet to learn. Only a tiny fraction of the universe seems to be composed of the protons, neutrons, and electrons we have labored so long to understand. The identity of the vast majority of the cosmos remains a mystery!

Our present understanding of the universe's composition is roughly as follows:

The focus of these pages is on the second of these components - cold dark matter. We hope to give an idea of why we think this bizarre stuff is out there, what it might be, and how we hope to unlock its mysteries. Follow the links at left for further information!

Last updated April 28, 2007