Wednesday October 19, 2011

The Dark Side

Dr Tamara Davis, School of Mathematics and Physics, The University of Queensland

Observations of the universe over the last few decades have thrown us some curve balls. We thought we had the basic picture—the universe is expanding, and all the structure we now see formed thanks to gravity out of little over-dense clumps in the hot, dense, early universe. Well that was all true, but we’ve realised that that’s not the end of the story. There’s a dark side to the universe that we don’t usually see, and it seems that everything we thought we knew makes up only 5 per cent of the universe! Dark matter and dark energy make up the rest.

In her talk Tamara will explain why we are so certain of such a seemingly ludicrous proposition, and what we can hope to learn by studying these wild and wonderful phenomena.

  • Time: 6:30pm to 7:30pm, Wednesday the 19th of October.
  • Venue: Parnell Building (7), Room 234, The University of Queensland.
  • Arrangements: No need to RSVP – just show up!
  • Refreshments: Refreshments will be served prior to the talk starting at 6:10pm
  • Questions? Contact Joel.

Dr Tamara Davis is an Astrophysicist from the University of Queensland. She specialises in interpreting astrophysical observations in terms of their implications for fundamental physics. She performed cosmological analyses for two prominent international supernova surveys, and has now returned to Australia to work with the WiggleZ dark energy survey, making the largest ever 3D map of the distribution of galaxies in the universe. The aim of all these surveys is to understand our fundamental laws of nature, and she uses the data to test new theories of gravity and quantum physics.

She has over 35 publications, including two Nature papers, and has spent time helping to design a space telescope for NASA. She’s appeared several times on ABC radio, twice on Catalyst, and written two feature articles for Scientific American. She has been awarded the Louise Webster Prize and the L’Oréal Women in Science Fellowship. To top it all off, Tamara has competed at a state or National level in six sports, and is a qualified ski instructor, gymnastics coach, and surf life saver. She’s just returned from the Ultimate frisbee World Beach Championships in Italy, where she represented Australia for the third time.

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