Skip to Content

Dark Matter and Dark Energy are the New Black

Official description

It is now 90 years since astronomers found the first evidence for a form of matter that wasn't part of the stars in our galaxies, but rather is "dark" and has a gravitational attraction to ordinary matter. Other lines of evidence lead us to believe that there is six times more dark matter than the ordinary matter we are familiar with. Despite this, we have no credible, direct evidence for what this dark matter might be. It is one of the biggest puzzles in particle physics and cosmology. In the last decade, we have also discovered that something else is going on – the universe appears to be filled with "dark energy" that causes the expansion of our universe to speed up instead of slowdown. We will discuss what we know about the hypotheses of dark matter and dark energy, and the debates about what might really be going on. Are we seeing science in crisis, with a revolution just around the corner, or is this just the "normal science" talked about by Kuhn and other philosophers of science? Participants will be expected to participate in seminar-style discussions, as well as take the lead on at least one topic of discussion.  Restricted to first-year students.  Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Recommended preparation
Breadth requirement
Distribution requirement
course title
year of study
1st year
time and location
LEC0101 and LEC9101: T1-3pm, Online Synchronous Seminar-style lectures will be delivered synchronously via Zoom. They will be recorded for later viewing, but students are highly encouraged to participate in the synchronous lectures whenever possible, by writing in the “chat" window or by using the “microphone”. A camera is not necessary.

Delivery Methods

In Person

A course is considered In Person if it requires attendance at a specific location and time for some or all course activities.*.

* Subject to adjustments imposed by public health requirements for physical distancing.

Online - Synchronous
A course is considered Online Synchronous if online attendance is expected at a specific time for some or all course activities, and attendance at a specific location is not expected for any activities or exams.
A course is considered Asynchronous if it has no requirement for attendance at a specific time or location for any activities or exams.