CfA: Dark Matter & Modified Gravity Conference (RWTH Aachen University, February 6-8, 2019, Deadline: October 31, 2018)

Submitted by Niels Martens (RWTH Aachen University).


Dark Matter & Modified Gravity Conference

6-8 February 2019

Aachen, Germany

Call for Abstracts (deadline 31 October 2018)


The Research Unit “Epistemology of the LHC” invites students and scholars in philosophy, history and sociology of physics/science, as well as in physics, to submit abstracts for the conference “Dark Matter & Modified Gravity”, taking place from 6 to 8 February 2019 at RWTH Aachen University, Germany.


Interdisciplinary perspectives on the underdetermination between dark matter & modified gravity

Astrophysical and cosmological observations as well as explanatory gaps in the Standard Model of particle physics imply the existence of Dark Matter and/or a modification of our theory of space and time. A decision between the Dark Matter (DM) and Modified Gravity (MG) approaches is hampered by problems of underdetermination at different levels and of different kinds. The plethora of Dark Matter and Modified Gravity approaches, and the corresponding underdetermination, even in the light of the vast amount of relevant collider based and astrophysical observations, clearly illustrates the complexity of this scientific problem. On the other hand, the overlap of the collider and astrophysical domains may allow for reducing the underdetermination, thus leading to a simplification of the model landscape. One focus of this conference is Dark Matter searches at the Large Hadron Collider and the connection between LHC results and theories of gravity. We will address the question of different kinds of underdetermination, both in choosing between the two research programs of Dark Matter and Modified Gravity, and also in choosing between different models within each program. In particular, we aim to provide an assessment of the explanatory power and the explanatory gaps of the Dark Matter and Modified Gravity hypotheses, and the extent to which these might reduce the issues of underdetermination.


Research topics include, but are not limited to:

-Is a strict conceptual distinction between DM and MG justified? How does this relate to the distinction between matter and spacetime?

-What are the explanatory successes and failures of the DM research programme, and of the MG research programme? Which models of explanation are being employed by the respective programmes, and how do those relate?

-Sociology of the DM-MG debate

-How do data, constraints and explanations at the LHC, in astrophysics and cosmology relate? Could the LHC, in principle, confirm dark matter by itself?

-Virtues and vices of simplified (dark matter) models. Do simplified models explain?

-Hybrid models, fifth forces & exotic theories that are neither MG nor DM

-Connections between dark energy and DM/MG

-Novel predictions, fine-tuning and falsifiability


Confirmed Speakers


Tessa Baker, University of Oxford (UK)

Lasha Berezhiani, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (Germany)

Felix Kahlhoefer, RWTH Aachen University (Germany)

Julien Lesgourgues, RWTH Aachen University (Germany)

Mordehai Milgrom, Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel)

Tobias Mistele, Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (Germany)

Robert Sanders, University of Groningen (The Netherlands)


Michela Massimi, University of Edinburgh (UK)

Niels Martens, RWTH Aachen University (Germany)

David Merritt, Rochester Institute of Technology (USA)

Robert Rynasiewicz, Johns Hopkins University (USA)


Jeroen van Dongen, University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

Jaco de Swart, University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands)


Other speakers from the Humanities to be announced soon (see website)


Call for Abstracts

The Research Unit “Epistemology of the LHC” invites abstract submissions on the theme of the conference, from students and scholars in physics as well as in philosophy, history and sociology of physics/science. Extended abstracts of between 500 and 1000 words (excluding references), together with a short abstract of maximally 100 words, should be submitted as a pdf to Niels Martens ( by 31 October 2018. We aim to communicate our decision by 20 November. We especially encourage submissions from groups that are underrepresented within the above fields.


Organisation & Contact

This conference is organized by the project “LHC and Gravity” within the interdisciplinary, DFG-funded research unit “Epistemology of the LHC”. For further information, see the conference website:,

or contact the organisers:

-Niels Martens (RWTH Aachen University)

-Dennis Lehmkuhl (University of Bonn)

-Michael Krämer (RWTH Aachen University)

-Erhard Scholz (University of Wuppertal)

-Miguel Ángel Carretero Sahuquillo (University of Wuppertal)