Hunting for Dark Matter: Building a cross-disciplinary, multi-pronged approach

Coordinators: Gianfranco Bertone, Dan Hooper, Stefano Profumo, Roberto Trotta

Scientific Advisors: Jonathan Feng

A conference associated with this program will be held from May 13 - 17, 2013.  Further information will be posted as it becomes available.

Thanks to fast-paced experimental developments, the field of dark matter research is flourishing and may well lead, in the next few years, to the identification of the underlying fundamental particle(s). There is an emerging consensus that a robust and accurate identification of dark matter will probably require the combination of multiple probes. Even if signatures of new physics beyond the SM are identified at the LHC in the next couple of years, delineating the ensuing implications for the nature of dark matter and for physics beyond the Standard Model might prove to be a much harder task using LHC data alone. This is where astrophysical and cosmological observations may prove to be invaluable: for example, direct detection experiments would be able to provide a much tighter measurement of the dark matter particle mass, while tight constraints on its relic abundance coming from the Planck satellite will help determine its properties. Furthermore, the comparison of constraints from different measurements will be fundamental to assess the consistency of a given theory.

This program hinges on the realization that the characterization of the particle making up the cosmological dark matter will require an approach based on the combination of multiple probes: colliders (LHC), cosmology (WMAP, Planck, and other CMB and large scale structure determinations of the relic dark matter abundance), direct detection experiments (CDMS, XENON, Zeplin, WARP, ArDM and others) and indirect detection experiments - such as gamma ray detectors (Fermi from space and Cherenkov Telescopes from the ground), neutrino telescopes (IceCube, Antares), antimatter detectors (Pamela, AMS-02), as well as X-ray and radio facilities. All these probes are sensitive to different  particle properties, providing a holistic and multi-pronged approach to dark matter science.

Since an integrated, holistic approach requires the merging of all the aforementioned observational probes, it is crucial to create a forum for collaborative exchange among particle physicists, astrophysicists and experts in statistical inference techniques, in order to be able to cope with the combination of several different observational channels and to interpret the constraints in light of theoretical models. The purpose of this program is to bring together key figures across disciplines, involving particle physics, cosmology, astro-particle physics and astronomy, including theorists, observers and experimentalists, and statisticians, in order to facilitate the development of a highly integrated approach to the challenge of dark matter characterization.