Outreach Activities

The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter

by Prof. Katherine Freese (University of Michigan & NORDITA)

Sala Darwin (Campus Burjassot)

Sala Darwin

Campus Burjassot

Aulario Interfacultativo

The ordinary atoms that make up the known universe—from our bodies and the air we breathe to the planets and stars—constitute only 5 percent of all matter and energy in the cosmos. The rest is known as dark matter and dark energy, because their precise identities are unknown. This talk will review the hunt for dark matter, from the discoveries of visionary scientists like Fritz Zwicky—the Swiss astronomer who coined the term "dark matter" in 1933—to the deluge of data today from underground laboratories, satellites in space, and the Large Hadron Collider.

Theorists contend that dark matter consists of fundamental particles known as WIMPs, or weakly interacting massive particles. Billions of them pass through our bodies every second without us even realizing it, yet their gravitational pull is capable of whirling stars and gas at breakneck speeds around the centers of galaxies, and bending light from distant bright objects. 

Many cosmologists believe we are on the verge of solving the mystery. In this talk we will explore the concepts needed to fully fathom this epochal moment in humankind’s quest to understand the universe.