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Italian and American Astrophysicists Discuss the Search for Dark Matter During Virtual Panel

The Embassy of Italy in Washington hosted today a virtual panel titled, “Dark Matter: A Challenging Discovery” to explore the topic of dark matter with some of the world’s top experts. The webinar is part of a year-long series of events commemorating 160 years of diplomatic relations between Italy and the United States of America.

Top Italian and American astrophysicists shared their expertise to discuss dark matter, which is believed to account for approximately 85 percent of the matter in the universe. Astrophysical observations and gravitational calculations show that without dark matter, galaxies would fly apart or would not have formed. The Global Argon Dark Matter Collaboration (GADMC) is a joint US-Canada-UK-Italy research program that pursues a sequence of future detectors to exploit the potential to push the sensitivity for the detection of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) several orders of magnitude beyond current levels. Their current focus is the DarkSide-20k two-phase detector, currently under construction at the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) laboratories in Gran Sasso, Italy.

The webinar was opened by Maurizio Greganti, Deputy Chief Mission of the Embassy of Italy to the U.S. and Dr. Antonio Zoccoli, President of the INFN.

The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Julie E. McEnery, Roman Space Telescope Senior Project Scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Fermi Project Scientist. The expert panel featured:

Dr. Elena Aprile – Experimental Particle Physicist, Columbia University
Dr. Cristiano Galbiati – Physics Professor, Princeton University
Dr. Arthur McDonald – Astrophysicist, Queen’s University and 2015 Physics Nobel Laureate

For a list of events and public diplomacy activities please visit our social media accounts @ItalyInUS, our official website at and the official portal for the 160th anniversary of diplomatic relations at