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20 November 2014
Dark Universe Debate

Dark Universe Debate

The stuff we can see in the Universe – the planets and stars and so on – are amazing and vast. But the “dark sector” – made up of all the stuff we can't see – actually makes up 95% of the whole Universe.

This “dark sector” composed of 25% “dark matter” (stuff with mass, but that doesn't interact with light) and 75% “dark energy” (the mysterious energy responsible for the accelerating expansion rate of the universe).

But astrophysicists actually don't know what either of these substances actually are – and in fact, many would argue that the dark sector doesn't exist, and it's all just a misunderstanding of the laws of physics.

That's why UWC is hosting the annual Dark Side of the Universe conference, bringing together leading researchers from around the world on both sides of the topic in an open forum.

The conference, lasting from 17-22 November, is highly technical – which is why you can find a handy Cheat Sheet for your benefit below – but there will be a debate for the general public on the evening of 20 November 2014. All are welcome!

So, join Associate Professor Gianfranco Bertone from the University of Amsterdam, the Institute of Astrophysics in Paris's Prof Jean-Philippe Uzan, Geneva University's Prof Ruth Derrer and the University of the Western Cape's Prof Romeel Dave as they debate the nature – and indeed the very existence – of the Dark Universe.

Does the Dark Universe exist? A Public Debate

Date: 20 November 2014

Time: 19h00 – 20h30

Venue: Life Sciences Auditorium, UWC Main Building, Robert Sobukwe Road

For more information, please contact Prof Roy Maartens on 021 959 3464, or via email at, or Peter Dunsby at 021 650 2344 or via email at

And don't forget to consult your Dark Universe Cheat Sheet