Elizabeth Leason wins Institute of Physics Conference poster prize
The annual Institute of Physics conference in high energy and astroparticle physics features a fiercely fought poster prize. This year’s winner is Elizabeth Leason, a PhD student from the School of Physics and Astronomy’s Particle Physics Experiment group.
Elizabeth is conducting research within the dark matter team. Dark matter is the mysterious invisible substance known to make up around 85% of the mass of our Galaxy. Its fundamental particle nature remains unknown. One possibility is that there is a dark partner for every standard model particle that we know of, with many of the same characteristics and properties. Such particles would form ‘mirror’ nuclei and atoms – indeed, a mirror universe. Using data from the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment, a major international project situated a mile underground in South Dakota, USA, Elizabeth has now set the first direct experimental constraints on the mirror dark matter model, ruling out much of the allowed parameter space.
The poster prize is especially remarkable for two reasons: Elizabeth is still in the first year of her PhD, and last year’s winner was also from the dark matter team here at the University of Edinburgh.