Public Event

Public talk: Ballarat

  • 7 August 2024
  • 5:30–7:00 pm
  • Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute, 117–119 Sturt St, Ballarat Central VIC 3350

Join the National Quantum & Dark Matter Road Trip in Ballarat to unravel the mysteries of dark matter with Professor Elisabetta Barberio.

Date: Wednesday 7 August 2024
Time: 5:30–7:00 pm
Venue: Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute, 117–119 Sturt St, Ballarat Central VIC 3350

This is a FREE event, but registration is required.

Title: The extreme search for dark matter: exploring the Universe a kilometre underground in regional Victoria

Scientists sometimes need to go to extreme lengths to find answers about the cosmos.  This is exemplified by the new Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory (SUPL) located a kilometre underground in regional Victoria.  The motivation for SUPL began with the surprising discovery in the 20th century that ordinary matter makes up less than 5% of the mass of the Universe.  The rest of the Universe appears to be made of a mysterious, invisible substance named dark matter (25%), and a force that repels gravity known as dark energy (70%).  So far, neither has been directly detected, though physicists know dark matter must exist because of its gravitational effects on galaxies and other astrophysical phenomena.  Finding certain types of dark matter requires a very sheltered environment deep underground—far from cosmic-ray-induced particles—to observe deep-space phenomena far below the surface of Earth: this is what SUPL provides.  Creating this new underground lab as an extreme project, which now provides the home for the SABRE South experiment: a new detector designed to catch the rare dalliances of these elusive cosmic messengers with ordinary matter.  From the depths of a mine shielded from cosmic rays, we will get a glimpse of one of the deepest mysteries of the Universe.

Speaker: Elisabetta Barberio

Professor Elisabetta Barberio is a professor of physics at the University of Melbourne and the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics (CDM).  She initiated the direct detection dark matter program in Australia, which led to the construction of the first underground laboratory in the South Hemisphere, the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory (SUPL) in Victoria.  SUPL will host the SABRE experiment, the first Australian dark matter direct detection experiment led by her.  She had an important role in the discovery of the Higgs boson particle at the Large Hadron Collider.  Professor Barberio was a researcher at CERN, the European laboratory of Particle Physics, where she performed measurements that confirmed the theory describing the behaviour of fundamental particles to an extraordinary degree of precision.  She was recently awarded Italy’s highest-ranking honour, the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana), in recognition of her outstanding contributions to experimental particle physics research.

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