Most of our universe is composed forms of mass-energy which we do not understand, and which is outside the current model of particle physics. In my group we pursue the physics of dark matter and dark energy via weak gravitational lensing probes of the universe and a laboratory dark matter direct detection experiment. We do this with state-of-the-art astronomical observations of millions of galaxies [the Deep Lens Survey, DLS] and by building next-generation capability to map billions of galaxies [the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, LSST]. The lab experiment is called "dark radio."
Using the DLS we have recently measured the dark matter power spectrum normalization, detected the growth in dark matter halos associated with galaxies over cosmic time, and demonstrated the new technique of weak lens cosmic magnification tomography.
We developed the LSST project mainly as a cosmological tool. Under development for over a decade, the LSST construction project was funded in 2014 by the NSF and DOE, and we expect “first light” in 2018. DLS is a precursor to the LSST survey, so we can use it to develop and test novel cosmology analysis algorithms for the LSST data. We also build instrumentation for LSST: we have labs in which we test the LSST charge coupled device detectors in a realistic LSST optical beam.
There are ongoing opportunities for creative advanced undergraduate and graduate students to join our research group. Depending on your interests, you can combine work on hardware and software development, and data analysis, to meet your own ambitions.