Dark Matter: Why study it? What makes it so fascinating?

Image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope of a galaxy cluster that could contain dark matter (blue-shaded region). (Credit: NASA, ESA, M. J. Jee and H. Ford et al. (Johns Hopkins Univ.))

Universe Today has had some incredible discussions with a wide array of scientists regarding impact craters, planetary surfaces, exoplanets, astrobiology, solar physics, comets, planetary atmospheres, planetary geophysics, cosmochemistry, meteorites, radio astronomy, extremophiles, organic chemistry, black holes, cryovolcanism, and planetary protection, and how these intriguing fields contribute to our understanding regarding our place in the cosmos.

Here, Universe Today discusses the mysterious field of dark matter with Dr. Shawn Westerdale, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy and head of the Dark Matter and Neutrino Lab at the University of California, Riverside, regarding the importance of studying dark matter, the benefits and challenges, the most exciting aspects about dark matter he’s studied throughout his career, and advice for upcoming students who wish to pursue studying dark matter. So, what is the importance of studying dark matter?

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Missing Mass? Not on our Watch—Dr. Paul Sutter Explains Dark Matter

Credit: ArsTechnica

Do you have a few minutes to spare and a thirst for knowledge about one of the greater mysteries of the Universe? Then head on over to ArsTechnica and check out the new series they’re releasing titled Edge of Knowledge, starring none other than Dr. Paul Sutter. In what promises to be an enlightening journey, Dr. Sutter will guide viewers through an eight-episode miniseries that explores the mysteries of the cosmos, such as black holes, the future of climate change, the origins of life, and (for their premiere episode) Dark Matter!

As far as astrophysicists and cosmologists are concerned, Dark Matter is one of the most enduring, frustrating, and confusing mysteries ever! Then, one must wonder why scientists are working so tirelessly to track it down? The short answer is: the most widely accepted theories of the Universe don’t make sense without out. The long answer is… it’s both complicated and long! Luckily, Dr. Sutter manages to sum it all up in less than 15 minutes. As an accomplished physicist, he also explains why it is so important that we track Dark Matter down!

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