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What is the Universe made of?


Event audio


18:30 - 20:00


The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG


Three-dimensional dark matter map. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Richard Massey (California Institute of Technology)

The vast majority of the universe is invisible and, so far, undetectable. Baryonic matter, the ‘ordinary’ matter that we can encounter and see, accounts for just 5% of the total. A curious combination of what scientists call dark matter and dark energy accounts for the remaining 95%. The elusive properties of these constituents mean they are difficult to detect and little understood. In 2020, however, telescopes will attempt to rectify that by creating a dark matter map, surveying three quarters of the accessible sky and looking back in time over three quarters of the age of the Universe. 

Dr Thomas Kitching discussed how this map will probe the nature of dark matter and dark energy in the hopes of answering the question, what is the Universe made of?

What is a Cafe Scientifique?

A Café Scientifique is an informal dialogue-based event with a scientist. A short talk by the speaker is followed by audience questions, an interactive activity and discussion for the rest of the event.

Attending this event

  • Free to attend
  • No registration required
  • Doors open at 6pm 
  • Seats allocated on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Travel and accessibility information can be found here.

For all enquiries, please contact

What is the Universe made of?

We joined Dr Thomas Kitching for this free Café Scientifique event to explore the science that is set to probe the nature of dark energy and dark matter.

The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK
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