The Knut & Alice Wallenberg Foundation released yesterday the list of this year’s recipients of funding for research projects with very high potential. We were very happy to see that on this list appears Jan Conrad with the project “Discovering Dark Matter Particles in the Laboratory”, with a grant of SEK 28 883 000 (around 3 MEUR) for five years.
Congratulations to Jan for this generous grant! Jan is a Member of the OKC Steering Group and has for long been one of the key researchers in the satellite experiment Fermi-LAT, and the ground-based HESS detector, searching for indirect detection signals of dark matter in gamma-rays. This is complementary to accelerator searches at CERN’s LHC in the ATLAS experiment, where we also have an important involvement from the OKC. Up until now, we have not had any activity concerning direct searches of scattering of dark matter in underground detectors, but thanks to the new grant, the OKC will through Jan Conrad have an important role to play also in this area, through the the world-leading XENON-1t experiment in the Gran Sasso tunnel.
Actually, the direct detection method was to a large extent developed in the 1980’s and onwards by Katie Freese and her colleagues. As Katie is now with us in Stockholm (she is a co-signer of the successful Wallenberg proposal, as is OKC’s Thomas Schwetz and Christian Forssén of Chalmers, Gothenburg), we can expect this exciting new activity to flourish in Stockholm and at OKC.