The ordinary atoms that make up the known universe--from our bodies and the air we breathe to the planets and stars--constitute only 5 percent of all matter and energy in the cosmos. The rest is known as dark matter and dark energy, because their precise identities are unknown. The Cosmic Cocktail is the inside story of the epic quest to solve one of the most compelling enigmas of modern science--what is the universe made of?--told by one of today's foremost pioneers in the study of dark matter. Blending cutting-edge science with her own behind-the-scenes insights as a leading researcher in the field, acclaimed theoretical physicist Katherine Freese recounts the hunt for dark matter, from the discoveries of visionary scientists like Fritz Zwicky--the Swiss astronomer who coined the term "dark matter" in 1933--to the deluge of data today from underground laboratories, satellites in space, and the Large Hadron Collider. Theorists contend that dark matter consists of fundamental particles known as WIMPs, or weakly interacting massive particles.
Billions of them pass through our bodies every second without us even realizing it, yet their gravitational pull is capable of whirling stars and gas at breakneck speeds around the centers of galaxies, and bending light from distant bright objects. Freese describes the larger-than-life characters and clashing personalities behind the race to identify these elusive particles. Many cosmologists believe we are on the verge of solving the mystery. The Cosmic Cocktail provides the foundation needed to fully fathom this epochal moment in humankind's quest to understand the universe.
Katherine Freese is director of Nordita, the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics, in Stockholm, and professor of physics at the University of Michigan.
Preface ix 1 The Golden Era of Particle Cosmology, or How I Joined the Chicago Mafia 1 New York City; Fermilab: The Atom Smasher in the Prairie; Chicago: A New Zeitgeist in Cosmology; Dunkle Materie: The Dark Enigma; WIMPs at Harvard 2 How Do Cosmologists Know Dark Matter Exists? The Beginning of the Dark Matter Story 9 What Do Galaxies Look Like?; Observational Evidence for Dark Matter; Formation of Galaxies and Clusters; Dark Matter Dominates 3 The Big Picture of the Universe: Einstein and the Big Bang 35 Geometry of the Universe; Cosmic Microwave Background; Outer Space and the Queen of Sweden; Pie Picture of the Universe 4 Big Bang Nucleosynthesis Proves That Atomic Matter Constitutes Only 5% of the Universe 67 A Story about Big Bang Nucleosynthesis; Particles in the Early Universe: A Primordial Soup; Origins of the Elements; Atoms Make Up Only 5% of the Universe 5 What Is Dark Matter? 83 Rocks or Dust; Matter and Antimatter; Neutrinos; MACHOs; Black Holes; The Particle Zoo; The WIMP Miracle; WIMPs in the Human Body and a Tennis Match 6 The Discovery of the Higgs Boson 108 Atom Smashers: The Large Hadron Collider; CERN; Discovery of the Higgs 7 The Experimental Hunt for Dark Matter Particles 123 The Three Prongs of the Hunt for Dark Matter; Dark Matter at the Atom Smasher at CERN: Missing Energy plus Jets; What Has CERN Done for Society?; Will the LHC Bring Doomsday?; Direct Detection: Abandoned Mines, Alpine Tunnels, and Nightclubs in Jerusalem; Indirect Detection: Annihilations in Space and at the South Pole 8 Claims of Detection: Are They Real? 147 Direct Detection in Underground Laboratories; Indirect Detection of WIMP Annihilation: Positrons, Neutrinos, and Gamma Rays; The Future of Dark Matter Experiments 9 Dark Energy and the Fate of the Universe 183 Rounding Out the Universe: Type IA Supernovae and Dark Energy; The Future of the Universe; Epicycles; Epilogue Afterword: Dark Stars 215 Acknowledgments 219 Notes 221 Suggestions for Further Reading 233 Index 235