This interdisciplinary proposal spans theoretical astrophysics and particle physics by addressing the need to provide astrophysical expertise to the particle astrophysics community in the area of dark matter and dark energy research. A new dialogue will be developed via collaborations involving expertise in astronomy, statistics and particle physics that centre on fundamental aspects of the nature of the contents of the universe. Theoretical predictions will be refined to pursue the quest for dark matter using novel experiments designed to detect the direct signatures of dark matter in our galactic halo via scattering and indirect via annihilations into high energy particles and photons. Dark matter and dark energy will be studied by cosmic microwave background temperature fluctuations and structure formation constraints. The former probe is contaminated by inadequately understood foregrounds that will be examined to extract clues to new physics in the very early universe, an especially timely research frontier in view of the anticipated data from the Planck satellite. The latter is rendered difficult by the highly complex interface of star and galaxy formation. This will be studied by emphasizing development of feedback prescriptions, an ingredient that plays a central role in the current paradigm for galaxy formation and complements ultradeep searches with the new generation of telescopes. The overall goal, namely to leverage via theory on the unprecedented experimental efforts that are underway to address dark sector issues in the emerging field of particle astrophysics, is achievable at relatively modest cost.
Fields of science
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