16 scientists | 19 days | 4,640 kilometres | 24 cities & towns
The National Quantum & Dark Matter Road Trip is a travelling science show, bringing all things quantum and dark matter to a town near you! To coincide with National Science Week, a team of scientists and science communicators will travel around Australia, delivering engaging presentations, hands-on activities, pub quizzes and more!
What: The National Quantum & Dark Matter Road Trip
When: 7–25 August 2023
Where: Regional and remote Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, as well as various capital cities
Why: To inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, and highlight the potential of quantum technologies and dark matter discovery for the future of our society
The nature of dark matter is one of the biggest mysteries of the Universe, and Australia is a key player in the quest to figure it out. Dark matter accounts for 84% of all the matter in the Universe, but we don’t yet know what it is. Quantum technologies are crucial in the hunt for dark matter, and they’re already used in smart phones and cars, medical imaging, manufacturing and navigation. But today’s technologies capture only a small fraction of the potential of quantum physics.
We’ll be travelling around regional and remote Victoria and New South Wales, as well as Far North, North and Central Queensland. In total, the road-tripping team will drive more than 4,500 kilometres over two week-long trips. Along the way, they’ll deliver presentations, hands-on activities and trivia at schools, pubs and other venues.
The road-tripping team includes scientists and science communicators from two national research centres, working to engineer the quantum future and unlock the secrets of dark matter. The team are looking forward to sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for quantum and dark matter, and inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.
The National Quantum & Dark Matter Road Trip is a joint initiative between the Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS) and Dark Matter Particle Physics (CDM). We are very grateful to the Australian Government and Inspiring Australia for providing funding through a National Science Week grant.
EQUS is the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems. Our mission is to engineer the quantum future by building quantum machines that harness the quantum world for practical applications.
Quantum technology is here. It’s used in smart phones and cars, medical imaging, manufacturing and engineering, navigation and much more. But today’s technology captures only a small fraction of the potential of quantum physics. New developments in research and engineering mean a new generation of technologies.
We are solving the most challenging research problems at the interface of basic quantum physics and engineering, working with partners in industry to translate our discoveries into practical applications and devices, and training a new generation of scientists in cutting-edge research, innovation and entrepreneurialism.
We engage the community in quantum and its potential for our future through public events, competitions and outreach activities. By engaging with schools and communities, we hope to inspire future quantum scientists and engineers.
Astrophysical and cosmological observations have revealed that our picture of the Universe is incomplete. Ordinary matter makes up less than 16% of the matter of the Universe and the remaining 84% appears to be made of a mysterious, invisible substance named dark matter.
The ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics (CDM) brings together experts from across Australia and internationally to unlock the secrets of dark matter and foster the science and engineering leaders of the future.
Our outreach and education program, with a focus on regional schools and emphasis on diversity, aims to share the excitement and benefits of Australia’s hunt for dark matter to inspire and train a new generation of innovative thinkers.
About our logo
The logo for the National Quantum & Dark Matter Road Trip consists of three things:
- A map of Australia
- A conceptual drawing of an atom
- An overlay of the cosmic microwave background (CMB)
We chose the map of Australia because that is where both our world-class research and this road trip take place—we will be driving all the way from Brisbane to Perth, covering a solid chunk of the country.
The atom is chosen to represent the physical sciences. We know thanks to centuries of scientific effort that most things we can see are made up of atoms, which are tiny little bits of matter. Quantum physics has a close relationship to the atom, because things on small length scales, like atoms, are governed by the weird and wonderful laws of quantum mechanics. Dark matter research is also heavily connected to atomic physics. Dark matter detectors rely on a strong understanding of the goings-on inside regular atoms.
The CMB is one of the coolest discoveries of the 20th century, and holds a special place in the hearts of all physicists. Put simply, it is radiation coming from space, which we can detect with radio telescopes here on Earth. The thing is, the radiation that makes up the CMB is incredibly old—nearly 14 billion years old—left over from a very early time in the Universe.
We can look at how this very old radiation is distributed across the sky and get a snapshot of the Universe a very, very long time ago. We can mine all kinds of information about our Universe from the CMB, and it is one of the key pieces of evidence for the existence of dark matter.
The CMB reminds us that, although we may be a bunch of hairless apes, clinging to a rock hurtling through space, who have never travelled farther than our own Moon, as long as we maintain a spirit of curiosity and discovery we are capable of learning incredible things about the Universe at large… it also just looks really cool!
The 2022 road trip
To coincide with National Science Week, a team of scientists and science communicators travelled from Brisbane to Perth, delivering engaging presentations, hands-on activities, pub quizzes and more!
When: 8–26 August 2022
Where: Brisbane to Perth, via 38 cities and towns around southern Australia
25 scientists | 19 days | 7,000 kilometres | 40 cities & towns
Get in touch!
Media enquiries: Hannah Sainty, email@example.com
Schools contact: Ben McAllister, firstname.lastname@example.org
General enquiries: Kristen Harley, email@example.com