Dark Matter and Our Universe
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% of all matter and energy in the cosmos. The remaining 95% is made up of a recipe of 25% dark matter and 70% dark energy, both nonluminous components whose nature remains a mystery. Freese will recount the hunt for dark matter, from the discoveries of visionary scientists like Knut Lundmark and Fritz Zwicky, who argued for the existence of dark matter in the Protected content , 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, and candidates include axions and 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. In this talk Freese will provide an overview of this cosmic cocktail, including the evidence for the existence of dark matter in galaxies. Stockholm University’s Oskar Klein Centre is one of the premier places in the world for research on these topics. Many cosmologists believe we may be on the verge of solving this mystery, which will be an epochal discovery in humankind's quest to understand the universe.
Dr. Sean Carroll, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology, is the author of many popular science books and the blog, Preposterous Universe. He is specialized in quantum mechanics, gravitation, cosmology, statistical mechanics, and foundations of physics.
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