Adam (Saint Charles East High School)
Mentor: Doug Spolyar
This summer I worked in the Theoretical Astrophysics department. I mainly worked with dark matter, specifically dark matter in the solar neighborhood. My goal was to access the validity of a scientific paper published by Moni Bidin that claimed that there was little to no dark matter in the solar neighborhood. Obviously this was a very bold claim and no matter if it was right or wrong, it would have a big impact on the scientific community. In the end I proved that his method was inaccurate and then I went on to further explore why it was wrong. Moni Bidin made 10 assumptions in order to simplify his method/equation. While some of them held true, 3 of them were suspect to be inaccurate. The 3 that are inaccurate led Moni Bidin's method to severely underestimate the total surface mass density in the solar neighborhood.