Shedding Light on Dark Matter


Australian Institute of Physics Public Lecture

Start Date

10th May 2018 8:00pm

End Date

10th May 2018 9:00pm


Physics Lecture Theatre 1, Sandy Bay campus

RSVP / Contact Information

NO RSVP required; Enquiries T: 03 6226 8502


Presented by

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.

Chris received his PhD from Institute for Computational Cosmology at Durham University in 2003, and held postdoc positions at the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia (2004-07) and in the Theoretical Astrophysics Group at the University of Leicester in the UK (2008-11). He has been based at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research at the University of Western Australia since 2011, during which time he has been an ARC Future Fellow, and is now a Research Associate Professor. These days he runs the ICRAR/UWA Computational Theory and Modelling Group, and he is a Chief Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence ASTRO 3D.