Light and darkness in the accelerating Universe

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A public lecture by Professor Ofer Lahav


It seems we live in a bizarre Universe. One of the greatest mysteries in the whole of science is the prospect that 75% of the Universe is made from a mysterious substance known as 'Dark Energy', which causes an acceleration of the cosmic expansion.  Since a further 21% of the Universe is made from invisible 'Cold Dark Matter' that can only be detected through its gravitational effects, the ordinary atomic matter making up the rest is apparently only 4% of the total cosmic budget.

These discoveries require a shift in our perception as great as that made after Copernicus's revelation that the Earth moves around the Sun. The lecture will start by reviewing the chequered history of Dark Energy, not only  since Einstein's proposal for a similar entity 1917, but  tracing the concept  back to Newton's ideas. The lecture will summarize the current evidence for Dark Energy and future international projects  such as the "Dark Energy Survey", the Hubble Space Telescope and  the proposed Euclid space mission.


Professor Ofer Lahav is Perren Professor of Astronomy and Head of Astrophysics at University College London. He is also serving as a Vice-President of the Royal Astronomical Society, and as chair of the science committee of the international Dark Energy Survey.