Course Description

This course focuses on scientific research and engineering. During the first part of the year, students conduct independent research projects that incorporate reviewing literature, making conjectures, developing methodology, designing experiments, and communicating findings. Their final projects are presented at a school-wide science fair, with the possibility for advancement to regional, state, and international fairs. During the second part of the year, students work in small teams in order to engineer new products – usually assistive technology devices. They meet with clients, conduct patent searches, design and build prototypes, demonstrate their products to expert judges, and deliver the products to their clients. Throughout the course, students practice incorporating purpose, clarity, organization, mechanics, and audience appeal as they communicate about topics in science and technology. Assignments consist of research papers, short essays, technical reports, and presentations. Students participate actively, as both writers and self-editors, and their works are consistently revised and often submitted for publication in online and print journals.

Evaluating WIMP Dark Matter Candidacy with Distant Astrophysical Phenomena

Project Overview

The particle properties of dark matter remain a mystery, despite its conjectured prevalence throughout the universe. Several candidates for dark matter have been proposed. This study focuses on the detection of Weakly Interacting Massive Particle dark matter. WIMP dark matter acts as its own antiparticle and, by measuring the gamma-ray flux resultant from WIMP annihilation, limits on the mass-cross section rate can be extrapolated. Twelve galactic sources at a distance of greater than 15 MLY away were surveyed using a combined binned likelihood analysis. No statistically significant dark matter signal was detected over the six scanned annihilation channels. Additionally, the annihilation cross section for five of the six annihilation channels can be constrained when compared to previous data. Future tests of these areas must be conducted in order to provide accurate assessment of these classes, though this project serves as a baseline for this new class of object for dark matter surveys.


Graphical Abstract

Research Problem

Despite the conjectured prevalence and importance of dark matter within the observable universe, its properties remain largely unknown. Recent studies concerning the primary candidate for dark matter identity—Weakly Interacting Massive Particles—have been unable to determine the existence of dark matter.


Previous studies measuring dark matter interaction have gamma-ray emission observations located within local galactic sources. Obtaining WIMP mass-annihilation cross-section relationship within distant galactic sources places further constraints on the theoretical WIMP mass range and enables further examination of WIMP dark matter candidacy.

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February Fair Poster