• CLA-Kay-Malmstrom-2021-Lecture

    2021 Kay Malmstrom Lecture in Physics

    An Evening on Dark Matter Particles


    Headshot_Elena_Aprile

    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

    2020

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

    2019

    "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

    2018

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

    2017

    "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

    2016

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

    2015

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

    2014

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

    2013

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

    2012

    "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

    2011

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

    2011

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

    2010

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

    2009 

    "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

    2008

     

    "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

    2007

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

    2006

     

    "Stopping Time" Dr. Eric Mazur, Harvard University

    2005

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

    2004

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

    2003

     

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

    2002

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

    2001

     

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

    2000

    "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.

    1999

    "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.

    1998

     

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

    1997

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

    1996

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

    1995

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

    1994

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

    1993

    "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."

    1992

     

    "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.

    1991

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