• CLA-Kay-Malmstrom-2021-Lecture

    2021 Kay Malmstrom Lecture in Physics

    An Evening on Dark Matter Particles


    The 2021 Kay Malmstrom Lecture in Physics, An Evening on Dark Matter Particles, was held Thursday, November 11, 2021.

    Watch the lecture

    Guest lecturer
    Elena Aprile, PhD
    Professor of physics at Columbia University

  • Professor Elena Aprile discusses the latest efforts to illuminate the nature of dark matter, the dominant form of matter in the universe. An answer to this fundamental question—what is dark matter?—will likely come from ongoing and future experimentation with accelerators, which search out indirect and direct detection. Detection of a dark matter signal in an ultra-low background terrestrial detector provides the most direct evidence of dark matter’s existence and will represent a ground-breaking discovery in physics and cosmology.

    Among the variety of dark matter detectors, liquid xenon time projection chambers have shown to be the most sensitive, thanks to a combination of large target mass, ultra-low background, and excellent signal-to-noise discrimination. Aprile focuses on the XENON project, which has led the field for the past decade and is expected to continue to be at the forefront of dark matter direct detection in the coming decade.

  • About Elena Aprile

    Elena Aprile is a professor of physics at Columbia University. After obtaining her undergraduate degree in physics in Naples, Italy, she earned her PhD at the University of Geneva. Aprile started her research on noble liquid imaging detectors under the mentorship of Carlo Rubbia, first as a student at CERN and later as a postdoc at Harvard University. At Columbia, she pioneered the development of a Compton telescope for gamma-ray astrophysics based on a liquid xenon time projection chamber. She later turned her attention to the dark matter question and proposed the XENON project. She founded the XENON Dark Matter Collaboration in 2002 and has served as its scientific spokesperson ever since. Her international team includes more than 180 scientists and students representing 24 nationalities and 23 institutions. Aprile has been a principal investigator on more than 20 research grants worth nearly $30 million over the years.

  • About the Malmstrom Lectures in Physics

    The Kay Malmstrom Lecture in Physics, part of the Emma K. and Carl R. N. Malstrom Chair in Physics, is an annual symposium on contemporary issues and research in physics. Through this generous gift, Carl R. N. Malmstrom ’36 gives Hamline students access to the outstanding scientific minds of our time. Even after his death in 2010, Carl’s legacy of supporting Hamline students continues to fund collaborative research opportunities, scholarships, and this lecture.

  • Past Lectures


    “Microscopy in Motion: Understanding How Crystals Grow Through Electron Microscopy Movies” Frances M. Ross, PhD, Columbia University


    "A Random Walk through Physics to the Nobel Prize" Dr. J. Michael Kosterlitz, 2016 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics for work on the Kosterlitz-Thouless transition


    "Mixed-Dimensional van der Waals Heterostructures for Electronic and Energy Applications" Dr. Mark C. Hersam, Northwestern University


    "What Can We Do with a Quantum Liquid?" Dr. Anthony J. Leggett, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003 Nobel Laureate for work on superfluidity


    "Soft Electronics for the Human Body" Dr. John A. Rogers, Northwestern University


    "More Than Moore: When Electronics Drive off the Roadmap." Dr. Mark A. Reed, Yale University


    "Relativity, Quantum Physics, and Graphene." Philip Kim, Harvard University


    "Innovating Your Own Future." Roger H. Appeldorn, 3M


    "When Freezing Cold is Not Cold Enough: New Forms of Matter Close to Absolute Zero Temperature." Dr. Wolfgang Ketterle, MIT, 2001 Nobel Laureate for research on Bose-Einstein condensation


    Spring: "Exploring the Warped Side of the Universe." Dr. Nergis Malvalvala, MIT


    Fall: "E=mc^2: Opening Windows on the World." Dr. Young-Kee Kim, University of Chicago


    "Neutrino Astronomy at the South Pole." Dr. Jordan Goodman, University of Maryland


    "Superposition, Entanglement, and Raising Schrödinger’s Cat" Dr. David Wineland, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2012 Nobel Laureate for developing research methods for measuring and manipulating individual quantum systems



    "How to Make Atoms Sing and Molecules Dance-Using Fast Light Pulses to Observe and Control Nature" Dr. Margaret Murname, University of Colorado at Boulder


    "Modern Cosmology & Superstring Theory: Can They Co-Exist?" Dr. Sylvester James Gates, Jr., University of Maryland



    "Stopping Time" Dr. Eric Mazur, Harvard University


    Malstrom Lecture - 2005 Dr. Ramon Lopez, Florida Institute of Technology


    "Stone Cold Science" Dr. Eric Cornell, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2001 Nobel Laureate for collaborative work involving Bose-Einstein Condensate.



    "Our Preposterous Universe" Dr. Sean Carroll, California Institute of Technology


    "Sunlight and Ice Crystals in the Skies of Antarctica" Dr. Robert Greenler, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee



    "The Physics of Star Trek" Dr. Lawrence Krauss, Case Western Reserve University


    "Almost Absolute Zero: The Story of Laser Cooling and Trapping." Dr. William D. Phillips, National Institute of Standards and Technology. 1997 Nobel Laureate for collaborative work involving the cooling and trapping of atoms with lasers.


    "Space Astronomy in the 21st Century" Dr. John C. Mather, Nasa Goddard Lab for Astronomy and Solar Physics. 2006 Nobel Laureate for collaborative discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation.



    "Voodoo Science" Dr. Robert Park, University of Maryland, author of the controversial weekly commentary, What's New, on science policy issues.


    "Quark-The Big And Small Of It" Dr. Melissa Franklin. Harvard University, The Top Quark.


    "So Many Galaxies... So Little Time" Dr. Margaret Geller Harvard University, Astronomer, recipient the MacArthur Fellowship.


    "The Quark And The Jaguar" Dr. Murray Gell-Mann, California Institute of Technology, 1969 Nobel Laureate for classifying the elementary particles.


    "Science And The Human Condition" Dr. Daniel Kleppner MIT, quantum optics, and experimental atomic physics.


    "Rumors of Perfection: New Ideas About Cosmic Evolution" Timothy Ferris, University of California-Berkeley, Science writer and essayist, wrote and narrated the the PBS special "The Creation of the Universe."



    "The Cosmic Quark" Dr. Leon Lederman, University of Chicago, 1988 Nobel Laureate for collaborative work that led to development of a new tool for studying the weak nuclear force.


    (Dedication of Robbins Science Building.) Dr. Arno A. Penzias, Bell Labs, 1978 Nobel Laureate with Robert K. Wilson for discovering the cosmic background radiation.