The Central Density of Dark Matter Halos
James Taylor (University of Waterloo)
February 24, 2020
Abstract: It is sometimes claimed that structure formation is a solved problem, and that a combination of analytic theory and numerical simulations tell us essentially everything we need to know about the distribution of dark matter, if not all matter, at all times in the Universe. I will consider the distribution of dark matter on the smallest scales and at the highest densities, and argue that it remains highly uncertain. This has important consequences for the interpretation of indirect detection experiments, and also for studies of galaxy dynamics. At the heart of the problem lies an incomplete understanding of how dark matter halos evolve as they grow through repeated mergers and accretion.