Figueroa Research

Hubble Deep Field

What are the fundamental building blocks of nature?

We look out into the Universe and gaze at an endless sea of galaxies, hundreds of billions of them, each containing hundreds of billions of stars. Yet all these structures that we see are but the tip of the iceberg. Our Universe is a strange place, dominated by unseen substances we call dark matter and dark energy. What are they, and how does this all work?

These are the fundamental motivations of our research. We know the standard model of particle physics is not complete. Although the standard model has been fantastically successful, it does not explain dark matter, dark energy, why neutrinos have mass, or how gravitation works. Finding what lies beyond the standard model is one of the greatest challenges in physics today. We approach this challenge by looking in two of the places we know the standard model fails: in dark matter and in neutrinos. We aim to find evidence for dark matter and elucidate its properties, and to look for new species of neutrinos through as-yet-unobserved interaction channels.

Next: Dark Matter