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New Year Lecture

"Exploring the Dark Sector of the Universe"

by Dr. Ben Elder, Centre for Astronomy & Particle Theory, Nottingham University - Monday 14th January

About the Lecture

Dark matter and dark energy play a dominant role in the dynamics of our universe on large scales.  Despite their making up 95% of the energy content of the universe, little else is known about these two distinct phenomena apart from their long-range gravitational interactions.

Dark matter provides an attractive force that is relevant on galactic scales and above.  The standard explanation is that it is composed of cold, weakly interacting particles that do not emit light, hence we cannot see them.  A number of experiments have attempted to detect dark matter particles in the lab, but so far have been unsuccessful.

Dark energy provides a significant repulsive force on galaxy cluster scales and above, and is responsible for driving the accelerated expansion of the universe.  The simplest explanation for this phenomenon is a cosmological constant and/or quantum mechanical vacuum energy, but both ideas predict a much larger effect than we see in the universe today.

In this talk I will give a brief overview of the above two topics, and will then discuss the possibility that our theory of gravity could be incomplete.  This general approach, termed modified gravity, is an active area of research today, and could play an important role in the explanation of dark matter and dark energy.


About the Lecturer


Benjamin Elder is a theoretical particle physicist and cosmologist.  His work focuses mainly on theories of modified gravity that could help explain the fundamental natures of dark energy and dark matter.  Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he received his doctorate in physics from the University of Pennsylvania and is now a researcher at the University of Nottingham.



After the lecture there will be a social reception in The Lombard and we encourage all of you to come along for a chat.
All are welcome to attend and free food will be kindly provided by The Lombard.

Keep up to date on our Facebook and Twitter sites - links on the left.

A prize draw will be held after the lecture.

Booking Information

Date Monday 14th January
Time 8:00p.m.

Physics Bldg, Physics Department , Fitzgerald Building, Trinity College Dublin.
There is an entrance on Lincoln Place (not far from the Merrion Square end of TCD). If you get the DART or bus to Pearse St, or drive. Use the Science Gallery entrance on Pearse Street (near the corner with Westland Row) There are maps here:  Here

Parking: Mark Street , Marks Lane , Lombard St. East .

Free Parking on the above streets after 7pm
Click HERE for a building map of Trinity College campus
Click HERE for Map of area

Admission €10 (€5 Astronomy Ireland members and concessions)
Tickets where possible should be booked in advance. Tickets can also be purchased at the door on the night, please come along 15 minutes early to accommodate.

Book online below

Call 086 06 46 555 to book tickets over the phone using Debit/ Credit Card
Send a cheque/ PO/ Draft, made payable to Astronomy Ireland to PO BOX 2888, Dublin 5.


This lecture is also available to people nationwide on DVD.
To order a copy of the DVD simply:
Order by credit/ debit card online below OR
call 086 06 46 555
Alternatively post a Cheque or postal order to: Astronomy Ireland, PO. Box 2888, Dublin 5.
Cost: DVD's cost €10 each incl P&P (€5 Astronomy Ireland members)

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Acknowledgment: Astronomy Ireland would like to thank the TCD Astrophysics Research Group for hosting AI public lectures in Trinity College Dublin.









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