Understanding the Dark Side of Physics

29:48 minutes

Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope discovered a ghostly ring of dark matter that formed long ago during a titanic collision between two massive galaxy clusters. The ring’s discovery is among the strongest evidence yet that dark matter exists. Image by NASA, ESA, M.J. Jee and H. Ford (Johns Hopkins University)

Neutrons, protons, and electrons—these are the basic building blocks of matter. But this kind of matter is only a tiny fraction of the entire universe. The rest, about 95 percent, in fact, is divided between dark matter and dark energy. Understanding what makes up dark matter and dark energy could help answer some of the biggest questions in physics. Physicists Jodi Cooley, Dan Hooper, and Nobel Prize winner Steven Weinberg join Ira Flatow to discuss what we do and don’t know about this “darker” side of physics, and what we hope to learn.

Segment Guests

Jodi Cooley

Jodi Cooley is an associate professor of physics at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Dan Hooper

Dan Hooper is staff scientist at Fermilab and an associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois.

Steven Weinberg

Steven Weinberg is author of To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science (HarperCollins, 2015) and the 1979 Nobel Prize Winner in Physics at the University of Texas, Austin in Austin, Texas.

Meet the Producer

About Becky Fogel

Becky Fogel is a newscast host and producer at Texas Standard, a daily news show broadcast by KUT in Austin, Texas. She was formerly Science Friday’s production assistant.