PUBLIC LECTURE – 10 May 2018

2018 Alexander and Leicester McAulay Winter Lecture Series

Australian Institute of Physics – Tasmanian Branch

Shedding light on dark matter

Thursday 10 May 2018, 8.00-9.00 pm
Physics Lecture Theatre 1
University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay Campus, Hobart

 

Professor Chris Power
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, University of Western Australia

A standard cosmological model has emerged over the last 30 or so years in which the matter content of the Universe is predominantly in the form of an exotic non-baryonic matter, quite unlike the ordinary matter of everyday experience. Uncovering the physical nature of this dark matter is one of the most pressing problems facing fundamental physics and cosmology in the 21st century.

Astronomical observations and modelling have played a key role in establishing what we think we know so far about the dark matter – the widely favoured Cold Dark Matter (CDM) model predicts successfully the large-scale distribution of galaxies in a cosmic web, and is consistent with our deepest observations of the early Universe, which show that galaxies, groups, and cluster are the product of mergers over the last 13 or so billion years of cosmic time. The CDM model is not without its problems, however, and, in particular, it is on the smallest galactic mass scales of dwarfs and satellites of the kind we find around the Milky Way that it has faced its most severe challenges.

I will review what the latest observations and numerical simulations are telling us about dark matter, and I will speculate on what we might learn in the coming years, especially as observation, theory, and experiment place more stringent limits on what the dark matter can be.

Further details: Andrew Klekociuk (T 0418 323 341, E aip_branchsecretary_tas@aip.org.au)