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The Future of Dark Matter Detection (2004)

Archive: Workshops

The Future of Dark Matter Detection
December 9 - 10, 2004

Next Generation Dark Matter Detectors

Spirit of this workshop
Talk Submission
Workshop Location
Contact Information
Schedule and transparencies

The Future of Dark Matter Detection
December 9 - 10, 2004
KICP, University of Chicago

Workshop on Next Generation Dark Matter Detectors

Organizers: Daniel Akerib (Case Western Reserve University), Juan Collar (KICP, University of Chicago), Rick Gaitskell (Brown University).

Spirit of this workshop

Dear friends,

We intend to host a small "Workshop on Next Generation Dark Matter Detectors" with a half-day extension into an EFI mini-symposium, under the auspices of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago. The chosen dates are December 9th and 10th (possibly also the 11th, depending on participation). Goals for the workshop are delineated below. Emphasis will be on having a useful meeting, i.e., on providing us with an opportunity to meet and discuss the future of the field in a more intimate ambiance than what is usually possible in conferences. To germinate the seeds of new collaborative efforts would be a most desirable outcome.

  • The main subject of discussion will be an in-depth comparison of present and envisioned direct detection techniques and experiments within each, in particular those able to reach the ton and multi-ton target mass challenges. How far can each take us, realistically? What will it take to maximize the potential of each? Are the required technologies within reach? Are we ready to speak of multi-ton detectors? Can we beat the backgrounds that would make these superfluous?

  • Recent developments in the field seem to indicate that the unequivocal discovery of a dark matter particle will most probably take a number of experiments, possibly relying on different techniques and target materials, all coinciding in their predictions for the origin of the signal. What will be considered "proof"? Can we identify a minimum set of signatures or "tests" necessary for a claim? (or rather, for us as a community to embrace it). Can we identify possible pitfalls? (i.e., can we come up with a close to complete list of backgrounds or systematic dependences that should be excluded as the possible origin for a putative signal). Can we agree on the need or a policy to disclose data for peer inspection? Do we need an underground hall with special features that would enable us to control some of the bad actors already visible in the horizon? (e.g. "punch-through" neutrons). Can we coordinate the effort to propose it, if the need exists?

  • Since several of these techniques have a significant overlap, what are the opportunities for cross-interaction? Can we envision a rough schedule for the discovery of the Dark Matter particle? Can we compete with our HEP friends? Is there life after the LHC? What can we do, synergistically, to get there first? In this last respect, would setting up a number of workgroups (background studies, new detector technology exchange, new phenomenology, etc.) help us as a community?

  • Are we able to think out of the box? What other particle candidates should we be worrying about? (have we been too focused on WIMPs and axions?). What would it take to extend present technologies to cover these? Can we propose at this stage any new methods of detection?

  • New underground Laboratories: We recognize that the timing of this workshop is coincident with other efforts in the community to further plan the array of experiments that can benefit from access to very deep sites, namely Snolab and the NSF's "S1" science solicitation for DUSEL. We welcome the proponents and participants of these efforts to coordinate with us on this Chicago workshop to meet our common goals.

We are looking into having a monographic volume published by World Scientific. The workshop should provide us with an opportunity to develop many of these "fringe thoughts" described above. Evidently, too many questions are listed here. One could encapsulate them into, "where do we see ourselves a decade from now?" and "how can we help each other get there?". That best describes the desired spirit of the workshop.

Please let us know at your earliest convenience about your interest in participating and making a presentation. Feel free to propagate to colleagues that may not have been included in this rough list.


Dan Akerib
Juan Collar
Rick Gaitskell

Talk Submission

A Preliminary Schedule of talks is available here. If you are scheduled to give a talk please submit and abstract via email to Juan Collar ( and Tiffany Miles (

Workshop Location

The workshop will be held at the University of Chicago Campus in the Research Institute building located at 5640 South Ellis.
The Workshop room is RI-480, and located on the 4th floor.
There will be transportation to and from the "Hyatt on Printers Row" hotel daily.


The conference Hotel is:
Hyatt on Printers Row
500 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: (312) 344-4921

The last day to secure a hotel room at the conference hotel at the rate of $120.00 a night plus tax for single occupancy was Monday, November 22, 2004. Rooms may still be available at this hotel. To secure a room send email to Tiffany Miles ( with arrival and departure dates or you may call the hotel directly and reference the Dark Matter Workshop. Rates are not guaranteed at $120.00 and may be higher.

Ground transportation will be provided daily from the Hyatt hotel to the conference and back. Participants are responsible for paying their own hotel bill.

There are two ways to get to the "Hyatt on Printers Row" hotel from the Airport:

  • Taxi (individual taxies cost about $40 one way, shared taxis are often available for less).
  • Continental Airport Express Shuttle: for one passenger traveling one-way the cost is $23.00. For roundtrip the cost is $41.00. Shuttles leave O'Hare airport for all hotels downtown every 10 to 15 minutes from terminals 1E, 3E, 2D and 5E.
    No reservations needed to go to downtown hotels.

Contact Information

For any other logistical information please contact:

Ms. Tiffany L. Miles
Visitor and Symposium Secretary
Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics
933 East 56th Street
LASR, 215
Chicago, IL 60637
Phone: (773) 702-4338
Fax: (773) 834-8279


UChicago Department of Physics
UChicago Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
Enrico Fermi Institute

Other Kavli Institutes

Last update: June 26, 2005