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Dark Matter and Dark Energy - the hunt for the missing 95 per cent

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Oliver Normand.

Come along to the first CUAS talk of the year to hear from Brian Clegg – an award-winning British science writer and public speaker!

As our first talk of the year, entry is FREE for all. Annual membership (£7) and life membership (£12) can also be purchased at the event – please bring cash.

The talk will be followed by refreshments outside the lecture theatre.

Please note that the Bristol Myers-Squibb Lecture Theatre (Department of Chemistry) is not our usual venue and is situated at the other end of the building from the Wolfson Lecture Theatre (and may not be accessed from the main entrance). Please enter via the entrance opposite Scott Polar Research Institute (indicated by the red arrow on the map here: https://map.cam.ac.uk/Bristol-Myers+Squibb+Lecture+Theatre). The Department of Chemistry is on Lensfield Road.

All the matter and light we can see in the universe makes up a trivial 5 per cent of everything. The rest is hidden. This could be the biggest puzzle that science has ever faced. Since the 1970s, astronomers have been aware that galaxies have far too little matter in them to account for the way they spin around: they should fly apart, but something concealed holds them together. That ’something’ is dark matter – invisible material in five times the quantity of the familiar stuff of stars and planets.

By the 1990s we also knew that the expansion of the universe was accelerating. Something, named dark energy, is pushing it to expand faster and faster. Across the universe, this requires enough energy that the equivalent mass would be nearly fourteen times greater than all the visible material in existence.

Despite a whole range of experiments, dark matter has never been detected: some suggest it may not even exist. Meanwhile, theories of dark energy have proliferated. It’s a challenge that awaits the next generation of astronomers and astrophysicists.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Astronomical Society (CUAS) series.

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