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Physics and Astronomy Colloquium – Jonathan Ouellet
February 11 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
UNC-CH Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
Jonathan Ouellet, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Searches for New Physics at the Edge of Absolute Zero”
Why is there something in the universe instead of nothing?
What is the nature of the so-called Dark Matter that constitutes some 85% of the matter content of the universe?
These are two questions that each bring together physics on the largest of observable scales with the behavior of particles on the smallest of scales. Why matter formed and what caused it to cluster and form the galaxies and stars that we see in the universe are among the most fundamental open questions in physics today. And the answers may lie in understanding the breakdowns of the Standard Model. In this talk I will discuss the search for Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay — a lepton number violating decay that could help explain the matter-antimatter asymmetry of the Universe – and describe the CUORE experiment, a ton scale bolometric detector operating close to absolute zero, which searches for this decay. I will then discuss the axion and its reemergence as a leading contender to explain the Dark Matter abundance. I will then describe a new experimental program that we have started at MIT, in collaboration with UNC, to discover ADM called ABRACADABRA and present the first results from the ABRACADABRA-10 cm prototype.