Congressman Matt Cartwright

Representing the 17th District of Pennsylvania
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Cartwright announces $120,000 National Science Foundation Grant to Lafayette College

Aug 11, 2017
Press Release

Easton, PA – Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright announced that Lafayette College received a $120,000 federal grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This grant provides funding to study the mysterious “dark matter” which makes up the majority of matter in the universe. A significant portion of this award will support undergraduate involvement in this research topic, thereby cultivating interest among the next generation of scientists and honing their computational skills.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports research, innovation, and discovery that provides the foundation for economic growth in this country. By advancing the frontiers of science and engineering, our nation can develop the knowledge and cutting edge technologies needed to address the challenges we face today and will face in the future.

“I am a strong advocate for the National Science Foundation,” said Rep. Cartwright, a member of the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Subcommittee. “Scientific advancement is one of the keys to U.S. competitiveness in a global marketplace; I commend Professor Brooks Thomas and Lafayette College on this award and will continue to support these programs.

“My goal is to provide a bridge between experiment and theory,” says Professor Brooks Thomas, assistant Professor of Physics at Lafayette College. “Over the last thirty years we have learned a great deal about dark matter, but many fundamental questions remain unanswered. Does the dark matter consist of one kind of particle or many? What forces does the dark matter feel? Input from both theory and experiment is needed in order to answer these questions.”

This NSF grant will help to support Thomas and the students in his research group as they explore new ideas for what the dark matter could be and assess how to test those ideas experimentally.  “Since the basis of my work is theoretical, many people assume I sit in deep thought all day,” Thomas jokes, “but theoretical physics involves hard work and a lot of late nights.  It involves engaging in active discussions with other physicists, testing ideas, writing computer code, performing simulations, and analyzing and interpreting enormous data sets.”  

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