by Ira Polans, Program Chair
The December AAAP club meeting will be held on December 13 at 7:30PM in Peyton Hall on the Princeton University campus. The night’s talk is titled “The Other 95%: Revealing the Dark Universe” by Dr. Eric Gawiser, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Rutgers University.
Dr. Gawiser’s talk is about the mysterious universe we live in. Only 5% of its energy takes the form of regular matter (i.e., protons, neutrons, and electrons). Astronomers focus most of our research on this 5%, because it gives off light that we can study directly. Nonetheless, we have been able to infer that 25% of the universe’s energy is in the form of a different kind of matter that does not give off light, called dark matter, and that the remaining 70% is composed of an even more mysterious energy possessed by empty space, called dark energy. The dark matter has sufficient gravity to hold galaxies together such that their stars do not fly apart. The dark energy is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate, as discovered in 1998 in what remains the most surprising scientific development of the past two decades. Dr. Gawiser will offer a gentle introduction to the Dark Universe and will describe the next generation astronomical surveys seeking to reveal the true nature of dark matter and dark energy.
Prior to the meeting there will be a meet-the-speaker dinner at 6PM at Winberie’s in Palmer Square. If you’re interested in attending please contact firstname.lastname@example.org no later than noon on December 13.