The dark side of the universe

 

Bakerian Prize Lecture

By Professor Joseph Silk FRS, University of Oxford

 

The emergence of cosmic structure is an outcome that has been studied by peering back through the mists of time to the remote depths of the universe as well as by deciphering the fossil structure of nearby galaxies. One of the greatest mysteries in the cosmos is that it is mostly dark. That is, not only is the observed night sky dark, but also most of the matter in the universe whose existence is directly inferred from the observations is dark. For every atom visible in planets, stars and galaxies today there exists at least five or six times as much ``Dark Matter'' in the universe. Astronomers today are seeking to unravel the nature of this mysterious, but pervasive Dark Matter, and determine whether it can be detected. Nor does the mystery rest only with dark matter, as there is also a dark force, dubbed ``Dark Energy'' and originally postulated by Einstein in the form of the cosmological constant, that is systematically accelerating the universe. Indeed, Dark Energy accounts for two-thirds of the mass-energy density of the Universe, and understanding its origin and nature presents one of the greatest challenges in physics. Joseph Silk will review the status of ongoing searches for the dark components of the universe.

The dark side of the universe 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK

Events coming up

  • The interaction of fire and mankind 14 September 2015 at The Royal Society, London Scientific discussion meeting organised by Professor Andrew Scott, Professor William Chaloner FRS, Professor Claire Belcher and Dr Chris Roos
  • The interaction of fire and mankind - further discussion 16 September 2015 at The Royal Society at Chicheley Hall, home of the Kavli Royal Society International Centre, Buckinghamshire Scientific discussion meeting organised by Professor Andrew Scott, Professor William Chaloner FRS, Dr Claire Belcher and Professor Chris Roos
  • Open House Weekend 2015 19 September 2015 at The Royal Society, London The Royal Society's building will be open to the public on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 September 2015.

For more events please see the events diary.

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