Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


The search for dark matter and dark energy in the Universe


Philosophical transactions a November issue

Organised and edited by Carlos Frenk, George Kalmus, Nigel Smith and Simon White

What is the universe made of? How is it expanding? What is the origin of galaxies and other cosmic large-scale structures? These questions and some tentative answers were the focus of the discussion meeting on The search for dark matter and dark energy in the Universe, held at The Royal Society on 22-23 January 2003.

Astronomers have known for many years that the predominant form of mass in the universe is dark matter, that is, matter that does not emit detectable electromagnetic radiation at any wavelength. Only recently, however, has it become possible to measure how much dark matter there is. These measurements are based on surveys of unprecedented numbers of galaxies combined with careful studies of tiny irregularities in the residual heat left over from the Big Bang, the cosmic microwave background radiation. These irregularities are imprints left in the radiation by the precursors of today’s galaxies. By contrasting the properties of the primeval irregularities with the large-scale distribution of galaxies, physicists can infer the amount of dark matter in the universe. The surprising result is that the density of dark matter falls short, by about a factor of three, from the critical value required to ensure that the cosmic expansion would eventually come to a halt.

Although we now know how much dark matter there is, its identity is still unknown. It is clear, however, that the dark matter cannot be the same sort of matter that we see in stars, planets and people. Such ordinary matter makes up only about 10 percent of the total. The search for the remaining 90 percent of the cosmic mass is intense and is taking place deep underground in well shielded laboratories around the world.

The combination of microwave background and galaxy data has recently produced another, perhaps even more perplexing result: our universe must contain not only dark matter but also a new form of energy which, in the absence of a better name, is often called ``dark energy.’ This gives rise to a cosmic repulsive force which counteracts the effect of gravity. Dark energy has dominated the overall evolution of the universe for the past 8 billion years or so, causing it to expand at an ever increasing rate. The origin of the dark energy is a profound mystery.

The Royal Society Discussion meeting brought together foremost world experts in cosmology and particle physics. They discussed the evidence for dark matter and dark energy, their effect on the expansion of the universe and on the properties of galaxies, speculate on the origin of the dark energy and describe experimental searches for the dark matter particles using ultra-high-technology devices. The meeting was pervaded by the certain knowledge that these are really exciting times in the quest for understanding the origin of our universe.

Rebecca Humphreys | Royal Society
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht 'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region
16.03.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Fraunhofer HHI have developed a novel single-polarization Kramers-Kronig receiver scheme
16.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, HHI

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>