TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique: “The Dark Side of the Universe”

Saturday – September 20, 9:30-11:00am

Milton J Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology – Syracuse, NY

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We’re back!! Stuff that most of us have seen is made of atoms, tiny particles that cause scientists headaches and lead to inventions like microwaves. However, current observations beyond our planet have led to astonishing mysteries. It seems most of the universe is made of things called dark matter and dark energy. These strange substances are not like anything we have encountered and they imply bizarre consequences for the past and eventual fate of our universe. Dr. Scott Watson will discuss both the evidence and the consequences of nature living on the dark side of the universe.

People interested in learning more about dark matter are invited to attend the free Junior Cafe presentation on Saturday, September 20, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology (MOST) in Syracuse’s Armory Square. Walk-ins are welcome, but we ask that people RSVP by emailing jrcafe@tacny.org by September 17, 2014.


Watson _small001Prof. Watson is an assistant professor at Syracuse University, working in the fields of theoretical particle physics and cosmology. He received his doctorate in physics from Brown University under the supervision of Robert Brandenberger. He held research positions at the University of Toronto and the University of Michigan before joining the faculty at Syracuse in 2010. He also holds visiting positions at Cornell University and with Stephen Hawking’s group at Cambridge University in England.

Prof. Watson’s research is focused on fundamental questions related to the origin of the universe and its ultimate fate. How did the universe begin? What is its eventual fate? Do atoms represent all of the stuff making up the universe, or do things like dark energy and dark matter control our ultimate fate? Questions like these are at the center of Prof. Watson’s research. Present theories suggest that the seeds for the growth of structures like galaxies and eventually life resulted from the quantum behavior of particles and fields in the very early universe — when it was less than a fraction of a second old. Such a description requires a quantum understanding of gravity with string theory being our leading candidate for such a theory. And so Prof. Watson’s research is also involved in establishing observational implications of string theory.

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique, a program for middle-school students founded in 2005, features discussions about topics in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an informal atmosphere and seeks to encourage students to consider careers in these areas. Students must be accompanied by an adult and can explore the MOST at no cost after the event.

Technology Alliance of Central New York

Founded in 1903 as the Technology Club of Syracuse, the nonprofit Technology Alliance of Central New York’s mission is to facilitate community awareness, appreciation, and education of technology; and to collaborate with like-minded organizations across Central New York.

For more information about TACNY, visit www.tacny.org.

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