Effective Theories and Dark Matter

Organizers: Vincenzo Cirigliano (Los Alamos), Richard J. Hill (Chicago Univ.), Achim Schwenk (TU Darmstadt), Tim M.P. Tait (UC Irvine)

March 16 - 27, 2015, JGU Campus Mainz

During the next few years, underground direct detection searches have the potential to dramatically increase sensitivity to signals for WIMP dark matter scattering from atomic nuclei. At the same time, the next phase of LHC running will bring new prospects for discovery of particles connected to the dark sector. Current and near-future searches for signals of dark matter annihilations similarly hold promise for discovery, and may connect present-day dark matter observations to the early universe.
In each case, a robust understanding of perturbative and hadronic uncertainties is necessary to connect a discovery (or null-observation constraints) to underlying particle physics models. These physical processes involve multiple energy scales (dark sector mass scales, weak-scale particle masses, heavy-quark thresholds, the QCD confinement scale, and nuclear energy scales).
Effective theories describe the physics at each scale, allowing predictions with quantifiable uncertainties while providing a minimal parameterization of unknown short-distance physics. Many of the effective theory tools are in a nascent stage, reflecting rapid experimental advances. The multitude of energy scales and detection strategies implies a disparate range of theoretical tools and approaches, ranging from model building and collider phenomenology to perturbative QCD analysis, heavy particle formalism and nuclear modeling. The workshop will bring together different subsets of the theoretical community to share ideas and stimulate new work in this exciting field.