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Possible Sighting of Dark Matter Fires Up Search and Tempers

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Science  03 Jun 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6034, pp. 1144-1147
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6034.1144

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University of Chicago cosmologist Juan Collar believes his group may have spotted a dark matter signal in their detector inside an abandoned mine in Soudan, Minnesota. If confirmed, it will be the first corroboration of a similar signal that an Italian underground observatory called DAMA has been seeing for 10 years. That would considerably strengthen the case that researchers have indeed detected the weakly interacting massive particles that some theorists have proposed as the main building block of dark matter. But Collar has also taken his sword to a rival experiment called XENON, which has long challenged DAMA's assertion of having detected dark matter. Collar says the XENON researchers are relying on shoddy science and flawed analysis to debunk DAMA's claim. Collar's taunting of XENON appears to have heated up the debate over DAMA's claim to unprecedented red-hot temperatures.