Open Nights

Next Open Night: 28 January 2017

Visitors at an Open Night

Speaker: Kate Storey-Fisher

Title: Physics in the Dark: The Missing Matter and Energy in the Universe


Everything we can see—from Table Mountain to the Andromeda galaxy, to us—makes up only a tiny fraction of the matter in the Universe. A whopping 95% of the Universe is dark, made of stuff that is invisible to us, which we call dark matter and dark energy.

Physicists first stumbled upon the mystery of dark matter in the 1930s; they noticed that galaxies were moving too fast for the amount of visible mass in them. More recently, astronomers were astonished to discover that the Universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. They realised that this acceleration must be caused by an unseen source of energy, now known as dark energy. Today, the dark Universe continues to be probed using a plethora of techniques, including gravitational lensing and modifications to Einstein’s theory of gravity.

This talk will discuss the discovery of dark matter and dark energy as well as modern efforts of physicists to determine the nature of these “missing” components, the implications for the evolution and fate of the Universe.

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