Direct Searches for Dark Matter

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Astrophysical observations suggest that the majority of matter in the Universe is made up of novel Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs). Such WIMPs are often predicted by extensions to the Standard Model. Efforts have been underway for more than two decades to detect WIMPs directly in detectors on earth. The challenge is great because of the small energies involved and the low interaction rates. The field has been driven by progress in detectors able to identify radioactive backgrounds. I will review how recent enthusiasm for low-mass WIMPs, which was generated by tantalizing hints seen in several experiments, has waned. Lastly, I will discuss various ideas to check the longstanding DAMA WIMP-detection claim, including the feasibility of alkali-halide cryogenic detectors.