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Particle Mysteries: The Coldest Case

A podcast that takes you on a journey through the enigmatic depths of the cosmos. In this series, hosts Joseph Piergrossi, a science writer working at the German research centre DESY in Hamburg, and Blaire Flynn, a science communicator at the Canadian research facility SNOLAB, in Sudbury, will explore the mysterious and invisible force that makes up a staggering 85% of the universe – dark matter.

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Physics Hubs

  • Dark Matter Hub

    There's more of the universe that we don't understand than we do understand. Ordinary matter—the stuff that scientists have spent decades studying—makes up around five percent of the universe. The remainder is thought to be comprised of dark energy (around 70 percent) and dark matter (around 25 percent). What is all this dark stuff and how do we know it's there if we can't even see it directly?

    We know that dark matter exists because it acts on the cosmos in a number of ways. In the 1930s, an astrophysicist named Fritz Zwicky realized that, in order to act the way they do, galaxy clusters must contain a lot more mass than was actually visible. If the galaxies also contained unseen "dark" matter, everything made a lot more sense. Then, in the 1970s, astronomer Vera Rubin discovered that stars at the edge of a galaxy move just as quickly as stars near the center. This observation makes sense if the visible stars were surrounded by a halo of something invisible: dark matter. Since then, a number of other astronomical observations have confirmed the effects of dark matter.

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