NISER Throws Light On Invisible Dark Matter

City News & Affairs

Bhubaneswar, October 31: Joining the rest of the world, National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) observed the Dark Matter Day at their Jatni campus today. 

In an attempt to create interest among students in the field of dark matter, NISER organised a seminar on the subject in which around 150 students from various schools and colleges from in around Bhubaneswar and Jatni participated. The students learned about various interesting facts related to galaxies. 

Interacting with the students through skype, Super CDMS scientist from University of South Dakota, Dr. Joel Sanders said, “Invisible dark matter makes up most of the universe but we can detect it from its gravitational effects. Scientists across the world are trying to know about the missing mass, something which we can’t see but makes up to 85 percent of the total mass of the universe.”

“If we succeed in understanding the nature of dark matter, it would help us know a lot about the origin, evolution, and overall structure in the universe, and will reshape our understanding of physics,” he said.

DINO scientist Dr Debasish Majumdar, from Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics who also attended the event talked about the contribution of India in terms of understanding dark matter. Speaking to MCL, Majumdar shared, “Lots of research on dark matter is going on and it has now turned into a mega project. In India also, various research works are going on. For the sun project, many countries have collaborated to carry on with the research. My colleagues who are associated with the sun project are doing a commendable job and the sun detector which was built in Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics is one of their achievements.”

On the importance of observing the day, Majumdar said, “This is necessary to get more and more young minds into research. Our brains should not be lost only in the IT sector. Such events will help young students understand and know about what is happening across the world in the field of research.”

Dr Sukanta Bose, LIGO India scientist of Inter University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune, India also shared his opinion about dark matter.

Speaking about NISER's goals and involvement in dark matter research, Vijay Iyer from the institute informed that NISER is also a part of Super Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (SuperCDMS) which is among the most sensitive dark matter search experiments in the world in the low mass WIMP region. Additionally, NISER is part of dark matter at India Based Neutrino Observatory (DINO) experiment which will commence soon. Along with dark matter, NISER is also part of NoVA and MINER experiments that understand neutrino properties. Being the only Asian collaborator in SuperCDMS, and with the growing interest in dark matter search, NISER would like to make its share of efforts in popularising this field of research, as well as pioneer dark matter search efforts within India.

Partha Sarathi Sethy, a student of St. Xavier’s School, Khandagiri who participated in the event said, “The whole session was very informative. We hardly get any exposure, so such kind of events will definitely enrich our knowledge. Though it was a high-level discussion, it helped us understand that there is something which is not visible but it is important and if we succeed in understanding it, then it would help us unfold many hidden aspects of the galaxies.”