Although we can see countless stars in the sky, theoretical physics shows that the universe mostly comprises dark energy and matter. Cosmologist Elisa Ferreira is working to unravel the mysteries of dark matter, which is still poorly understood.
Ferreira earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from the University of São Paulo and her doctorate from McGill University in Canada. She is a member of international collaborations such as the Prime Focus Spectrograph and the BINGO telescope, and she currently works as a lecturer at USP and a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany. Ferreira’s project proposes ultracold matter as a promising candidate for solving the mystery of dark matter. Ferreira’s work is at the forefront of research on dark matter, and her findings could help us better to understand the universe and our place in it.
We observe billions of galaxies in our universe, but they and the gases between them make up only 15% of all matter. The rest is dark matter, a mysterious substance providing gravitational scaffolding for galaxies and other structures.
One of the leading candidates for explaining dark matter is ultracold dark matter, which comprises extremely light particles. These particles behave like waves on small scales, which could explain some of the mysterious behaviors observed in galaxies and other small-scale structures.
This project aims to understand the behavior of ultracold dark matter from a theoretical, computational, and observational perspective. The ultimate goal is to use data from new telescopes such as the PFS (Prime Focus Spectrograph) and BINGO (Baryon Acoustic Oscillations from Integrated Neutral Gas Observations) to unravel the role of ultracold dark matter in the dark sector and shed light on the nature of dark matter.