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Stawell particle physics laboratory receives $1.57m boost

Stawell Gold Mines.STAWELL’S proposed cutting-edge particle physics laboratory is a step closer after a $1.57-million boost.
Nanjing Night Net

The State Government commitment will help Australian scientists hunt for dark matter a kilometre underground in Stawell’s gold mine.

Project leader Elisabetta Barberio said the funding would help physicists to create the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory and construct a dark matter particle detector paired with a matching detector under an Italian mountain.

She said the project could start once the Federal Government matched the funding.

She said researchers discussed plans to find dark matter at Stawell at the national physics congress in Canberra.

‘‘We hope to start testing in 2015,’’ she said.

‘‘We and our Italian colleagues will create two experiments – one deep in Stawell’s gold mine, the other under the Italian mountains at GranSasso.’’

Professor Barberio said the Italian researchers thought they might have already detected dark matter particles.

She said the identical experiments at Stawell and Gran Sasso would confirm their discovery.

She said having a laboratory in the southern hemisphere would allow researchers to determine the effects of seasons on the experiment.

The Stawell Gold Mine Future Possibilities project control group identified an opportunity to use part of the underground mine to support a major international scientific investigation earlier this year.

The Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics has also expressed interest in using the mine to detect dark matter.

The Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory would be a partnership between government, the education sector and industry aimed at delivering significant investment, economic, employment and research outcomes across the region.

Partners include the Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics, the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics and Stawell gold mine owner Crocodile Gold.

Northern Grampians Shire Council declined to comment on the announcement.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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