There exists an unknown form of mass, which accounts for five times more of the universe than all the atoms or baryons known. Understanding the nature of this so-called dark matter is one of the greatest challenges in the physical sciences for this century, bringing together astronomers and particle or nuclear physicists in a global hunt.
There are many candidates for this collisionless, non-luminous gravitating mass; from ultralight axion particles to weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) to even primordial black holes. We are at the forefront of all of these investigations.
On the largest scales we use supercomputer simulations to better predict the distribution of dark matter around visible tracers, i.e. stars and galaxies, that are then compared with gravitational lensing maps from the Hubble Space Telescope or high-energy emission from potential dark matter self-annihilation signatures as revealed by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.