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Introduction to Dark Matter Physics

Grant number: 18/09895-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2018
Effective date (End): August 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Physics - Elementary Particle Physics and Fields
Principal researcher:Enrico Bertuzzo
Grantee:Fernanda Lima Matos
Home Institution: Instituto de Física (IF). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Despite the numerous experimental evidence showing its existence, the nature of Dark Matter (DM) remains one of the greatest mysteries of contemporary Physics. In this Scientific Initiation Project, we aim to give to the student an introduction to the physics of Dark Matter. We will first study the experimental observations by Fritz Zwicky and Vera Rubin, learning how the galaxies' rotation curves measurements indicate the existence of a dark component of matter, that is, a component that does not interact electromagnetically. After that, we will focus on the cosmological evidence related to DM properties. For that, we will give to the student an introduction to Modern Cosmology, starting with the Friedmann-Lemaitre-Robertson-Walker metric and continuing with the study of the Early Universe thermal evolution. In particular, three subjects will be examined with a certain level of detail: primordial Nucleosynthesis, recombination and the generation of the Cosmic Microwave Background. Due to the large physical content of this last physical observable, the last part of the activities will be focused on the detailed study of the information that the cosmic background radiation can be offer about the amount of DM (and dark energy) present on the universe.

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