When Jonathan LeyVa was a kid he thought he would work in automotive engineering. Change of plans, as an adult he searches for dark matter, the invisible substance that makes up more than 85 percent of the universe’s mass.
LeyVa started at Stanford looking for ways to make future detectors more sensitive to the rare light particles that reside in dark matter.
Today he works in a cleanroom at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) National Accelerator Laboratory, a US Department of Energy National Laboratory. Crews at the laboratory are building detectors for the latest Super-Cryogenic Dark Matter Search experiments (SuperCDMS). He tracks how much the detectors are exposed to cosmic rays. Researchers want to minimize this exposure, as this may affect their ability to recognize dark matter later. Clearly, Jonathan LeyVa is operating at the far end of cosmic science.