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Jodi Cooley sheds light on dark matter


The following ran in the Jan. 18, 2012, edition of the University of Texas at Arlington's campus newspaper, The Shorthorn. Physicist Jodi Cooley provided expertise for this story.

January 25, 2012

By Russell Kirby

Jodi Cooley, physics assistant professor from Southern Methodist University, spoke about the way her team of researchers is attempting to detect dark matter to an audience of about 30 students and faculty.

Physics assistant professor Chris Jackson, who invited Cooley to speak, said her eight years of involvement with the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search and time as a spokeswoman for the search experiments makes her an expert on the subject.

“I like to solve interesting problems,” Cooley said. “To me, one of the most interesting puzzles is that 85 percent of matter in the universe is missing. We’re trying to figure it out, but it’s a hard problem.”

Cooley presented analysis from data released last spring and explained the variety of potential improvements that would contribute to the development of this data and ultimately the detection of dark matter. The overall hype of the subject inspired questions from professors.

Among them was a question from physics professor Zdzislaw Musielak, who asked how the accuracy of Cooley’s graphs improved over time. Cooley said the testing equipment became more accurate and thus the results were more accurate.

“This is the hottest topic in physics,” physics graduate student Suman Satyal said. “We all know there is dark matter, but there is no experimental evidence. Every time someone comes to speak, we always hope they’ve come up with something.”

Cooley said the researchers hope to continue furthering the project with improved design features to remain a contributing force in the study of dark matter.

“I think the future is very promising,” she said