Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joins Dark Matter Hunt

China has joined Italy, the United States and Japan in the hunt for the elusive dark matter. The team, led by Dr. Xiangdong Ji, a physicist and Dean of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, has set up the deepest laboratory in the world, 2,500 meters under the marble mountain of JinPing in Sichuan province, in the southwest of China.

Department of Physics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

View profile of Department of Physics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Four leading underground Dark Matter labs in the world

Comparison chart of four leading underground Dark Matter labs in the world.

This project, named PandaX, begins monitoring 120 kilograms of xenon in 2013 and plans for tonne-scale experiment in 2016 at a cost of $15 million.

In astronomy and cosmology, dark matter is a type of matter hypothesized to account for about 23% of today’s universe. Yet, there is no generally accepted way to detect it. In the past few years, physicists have set up labs more than 1,000 meters underground, hoping to catch the hypothetical particles of dark matter that might very rarely interact with ordinary matter as they drift through Earth. Now having perhaps the best underground lab in the world, Dr. Ji and his team want to demonstrate that “world-class research in dark matter is possible in China.”

The PandaX Dark Matter Lab lies under the JinPing Mountain in southwest China.

Shanghai Jiao Tong University has assembled an international team for this PandaX project, through talent initiatives like 1000 Talent Plan, Changjiang  Scholars Program, and National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars. Many team members achieved outstanding results in their previous work in some of the best dark matter laboratories in the world. Xiangdong Ji, for instance, received his Ph.D. from Drexel, did his postdoctoral research at MIT and Caltech, and has been on the faculty of University of Maryland since 1996. Carl-Ludwig Giboni, from Columbia University’s Xenon team, is a now a professor in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University and playing an important role in the PandaX project. “We want to use this opportunity to attract more outstanding researchers to our university and to develop a culture of participation, trust, and cooperation,” says Dr. Ji.

Check for a detailed profile of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and more graduate programs on dark matterAlso, check out GradSchoolShopper’s profiles of Drexel, Maryland, and MIT.

Related information:

Eugenie Samuel Reich, “Dark-matter hunt gets deep: China launches world’s deepest particle-physics experiment — but it joins a crowded field.” Nature 494.7437 (20 February 2013).

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