The Cryogenic Dark Matter Search low ionization-threshold experiment
Over 80 years ago we discovered the presence of Dark Matter in our universe. Endeavors in astronomy and cosmology are in consensus with ever improving precision that Dark Matter constitutes an essential 27% of our universe. The Standard Model of Particle Physics does not provide any answers to the Dark Matter problem. It is imperative that we understand Dark Matter and discover its fundamental nature. This is because, alongside other important factors, Dark Matter is responsible for formation
... ble for formation of structure in our universe. The very construct in which we sit is defined by its abundance. The Milky Way galaxy, hence life, wouldn't have formed if small over densities of Dark Matter had not caused sufficient accretion of stellar material. At UIUC after a year of thorough coursework I joined the Nuclear Physics group under an amazing advisor, and amongst a brilliant group of friends. While I was learning great physics, I had not found that one question I would answer for my PhD. The inspiration came from Joel Primack's colloquium, "The History and Future of Dark Matter". With gusto he examined the Dark Matter problem. The message sank in and I spent days reading papers and doing calculations; my bafflement only increased. It is difficult to accept nonchalantly the fact that all our progress explained just 5% of the universe. A solid 27% is something observed repeatedly, always indirectly, and with barely any documented properties. Thus from this colloquium I had found my purpose. With trepidation I told my advisor, Doug Beck, where my mind was and that I wanted to switch projects. This was non-trivial since UIUC did not have any Dark Matter experiments (although Brian Fields had a great theory course). Doug was fantastically welcoming and announced his full support. From personal studies and a TV program I found the "CDMS experiment" to be absolutely fascinating. That summer I went to Boston and had extremely educative discussions with Chris Stubbs (at Harvard) and Tali Figueroa (at MIT and a CDMS PI) on the prospects of pursuing a PhD in Dark Matter physics, particularly with the CDMS collaboration. The final step toward this goal was achieved with great support from Erik Ramberg (Fermilab) and Tali. They helped me meet Dan Bauer, CDMS PI and deputy director of the Center for Particle Astrophysics at Fermilab. He would become my research advisor at Fermilab, where all my exciting years of graduate school have been spent. Dan was more than generous in accepting me into his group, and not enough words can be strung together to express my gratitude. With Doug letting me go and Dan taking me in, I was able to work on the very science and experiment I yearned for.