There are phenomena in our universe that are almost beyond our realm of understanding – what lies in the dark space between the stars? How can we measure things that are invisible? What prevents the galaxies from expanding into oblivion?
One explanation is the existence of dark matter, otherwise undetectable because it is composed of particles that do not absorb, reflect or emit light. We can only assume that it is there because of its impact on ordinary matter, so the quest to understand it requires innovative approaches.
In the last decade, there has been impressive progress in detecting dark matter interactions. The search continues with crucial experiments deep in the bowels of an old gold mine in rural Australia using a direct detection method.
Leading the way is physicist Elisabetta Barberio, who will explain this underground undertaking and outline the impact the findings can have on our understanding of the universe.
This event is presented by the Australian Institute of Physics and the UNSW Centre for Ideas.
UNSW x SYDNEY SCIENCE FESTIVAL
UNSW x Sydney Science Festival includes talks, tours and events that will reveal the science that blows your mind – from an unexpected method to measure dark matter to the feminist history of the internet. See the full program.
The Roundhouse is located at UNSW Sydney's Kensington Campus, E6 on this map (PDF). You can be dropped off close to the Roundhouse north entrance (D5 on map). Vehicles need to arrive via High Street, Gate 2, follow the road to Third Avenue and turn onto 1st Ave West. The closest accessible parking is available in the Western Campus Car Park on Anzac Parade (G2 on map).
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Professor Elisabetta Barberio is a member of the Experimental Particle Physics Group at the University of Melbourne and has spent much of her career as a researcher at CERN, the European laboratory of Particle Physics. She was involved with data analysis in the OPAL experiment at Large Electron Positron Collider at CERN. Precision measurements made at this collider have confirmed the theory describing the fundamental particle behaviour to an extraordinary degree of precision. Barberio initiated the direct detection dark matter program in Australia, which led to the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory (SUPL) in the Stawell Gold Mine, one kilometre underground.
Professor Emma Johnston AO is Dean of Science and Professor of Marine Ecology and Ecotoxicology at UNSW Sydney. A highly awarded scientist and educator, Professor Johnston has published more than 141 peer-reviewed articles and supervised more than 20 successful PhD graduates. Selected prizes include the Australian Academy of Science’s inaugural Nancy Mill’s Medal for Women in Science (2014), and the 2015 Eureka Prize for the public communication of science. In 2018 Emma was awarded the Clarke Medal of the Royal Society of NSW and named an Officer of the Order of Australia for “distinguished service to higher education, particularly to marine ecology and ecotoxicology, as an academic, researcher and administrator, and to scientific institutes”. A strong advocate for equity and diversity in STEM and for sound environmental management, Professor Johnston is President of Science & Technology Australia (STA) and sits on the Board of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and the Australian Antarctic Foundation (ASF). She consults with industry through the development and implementation of new biomonitoring techniques and environmental monitoring programs and frequently contributes expert opinion to state, federal & international government agencies.