The Joint Space Science Institute -- consisting of astronomers, astrophysicists and physicists from the University of Maryland and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center -- is planning a cross-cutting workshop on “Near Field Cosmology as a Probe of Early Universe, Dark Matter and Gravity”. We aim to bring together 80-100 scientists from around the world to discuss many aspects of observations, theory, and how they all fit together.



One of the unsolved puzzles in modern Astrophysics is the understanding the early nonlinear evolution of the Universe, thus structure and galaxy formation at small scales (dwarf galaxies and smaller mass scales). Understanding the clumping of dark matter at these small scales is important for direct and indirect detections of dark matter particles and to test models on the nature of the dark matter and gravity. For instance, whether dark matter is made of cold or warm particles or is a manifestation of modified gravity at small mass scales. Different test are available to probe the smallest clumps of dark matter ranging from lensing effects to dark matter annihilation signatures to the detection of ultra-faint galaxies or dark galaxies in the Local Group. In addition, observations of rotation curves and the velocity dispersion of stars in dwarf Spheroidal galaxies still pose some challenges to cold dark matter cosmology. What is the mass number and properties of the dwarf galaxies that first formed in the universe and reionization feedback is also a related and unsolved important question. Understanding galaxy formation in small halos requires deeper insights on the physics behind stellar and black holes feedback and cosmic reionization. Surveys and detailed studies of the faint and ultra-faint dwarf galaxies in the Local Group and deep 21cm surveys are powerful probes of dark matter clumping at small scales and a test for models of the formation of the fist galaxies.

Sessions will be organized around broad topics:

• Session I: Particle physics theory: dark matter (DM) candidates

• Session II: Direct detection predictions and experiments

• Session III: Indirect dark matter detection: DM annihilation and decay

• Session IV: Formation of the first dark and luminous structures and feedback processes

• Session V: Near Field Cosmology (theory): Milky Way satellites, astrophysical tests of Cold DM and gravity

• Session VI: Near Field Cosmology (observations): ultra-faint satellites, gravitational lensing, 21 cm surveys

Each session will be anchored by two invited speakers -- experts in their fields who can communicate well with an audience of observers and theorists with a range of specialties.  Invited speakers will have 30-35 minutes, plus 5 minutes for questions/discussion. A few 15-20 minute contributed talks will round out each session. Other attendees will be able to bring posters for display and discussion during coffee breaks, which will be long to provide ample time for informal interactions.


Invited speakers will include:  Howard Baer (Oklahoma), Volker Bromm (Texas), Juan Collar (Chicago),  Marla Geha (Yale), Nick Gnedin (Fermilab/Chicago), Carter Hall (Maryland), Michael Kuhlen (UC Berkeley), Jerry Ostriker (Princeton), Joe Silk (Oxford, UK), Tracy Slatyer (IAS), Tommaso Treu (UCSB), Mark Vogelsberger (CfA, Harvard), HongSheng Zhao (St. Andrews, UK), and Kathryn Zurek (Michigan).


Participants are also enouraged to submit an abstract for a talk (about a dozen will be selected to complement the invited speakers above) or for a poster, which will be on display for all three days of the workshop.  Abstract submission is handled as part of the online registration process.


Please join us!  Online registration and abstract submission will open September 17th.  We encourage you to register early to get the lowest registration fee.  Discounted registration fees are available to students.


For further information about the workshop program, please contact Massimo Ricotti (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).  For registration questions or issues, send email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..