Dr. Pearl Sandick’s New Lecture Series Brings Dark Matter, Particle Physics, and More to People in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – On April 22, 2022, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was restarted after a three-year upgrade.

Located under the France-Switzerland border, the LHC is one of the primary means by which particle physicists gather data to form theories on “questions important to humanity from the very beginning”, according to one of the particle physicists from the University of Utah, Dr. Perle Sandick.

Dr. Sandick wants Utahns to know that the reopening of the LHC and other developments are “super exciting and fun,” and not just for physicists. She speaks at two conferences this month that all Utahns can enjoy — one on April 27 and one on April 28, both titled “Seeking Light in the Darkness.”

Dr. Sandick described his work in particle physics and cosmology at ABC4 in simple terms. According to Sandick, particle physicists study “the smallest constituents of nature and matter, and how these smaller-than-atom particles interact.” Dr. Sandick’s work is to expand the existing theory of particle physics to better fill some theoretical gaps that will be discussed later in this article. She describes cosmology as “the study of the universe from the beginning to the present day”.

As for theoretical physics in general, Dr. Sandick says his job is “to look at all the information about how the universe works, describe it in a coherent way, and figure out how to test those descriptions.”

Dr. Sandick’s work focuses on understanding and explaining dark matter in the universe.

She tells Utahns not to worry if they don’t know what dark matter is, because neither do physicists. What physicists do know, however, is that dark matter is responsible for much of the gravity that “holds the structures of the universe together” and is the “reason it looks that way.” The trick, however, is that dark matter cannot be explained by current particle physics theories that describe atomic and subatomic particles.

The description of Dr. Sandick’s lecture series states that “there is good reason to suspect that a breakthrough in dark matter may be imminent, with far-reaching implications for our understanding of the Universe, from its smallest constituents and even fundamental physics.”

Dr. Sandick’s job is to “provide new insights into dark matter and its connection to what we see around us.” She also mentions that Utah is a particularly interesting place for scientists because of its stunning views of the Milky Way.

International Dark Sky Week also begins today, during which participants will celebrate eliminating light pollution to maintain our ability to see the night sky. Dr Sandick says humanity gazing and wondering at the night sky is quite relevant to modern physicists.

Admission to upcoming Dr. Sandick lectures is free and open to the public, but requires pre-registration via the link here.

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