Astrophysics Invited Talk

Mike Boylan-Kolchin (University of Maryland)

The Local Universe as a Dark Matter Laboratory

The standard cosmological model, which posits that the energy content of the Universe is dominated by two mysterious components (dark matter and dark energy), has been very successful on large cosmological scales. On galactic and sub-galactic scales, however, a number of potential issues have arisen; these issues may point to new fundamental physics or to previously unappreciated processes in galaxy formation. I will review how we are using the Local Group of galaxies to probe the nature of dark matter, highlighting the essential role that numerical simulations are playing in current studies. I will also describe the computational challenge of modeling various different models of dark matter, along with the potentially revolutionary implications for the standard model of particle physics if clear signals of non-standard dark matter physics can be found.