How did the universe form and evolve? What
is it made of? Dark matter, dark energy, what are these things?
My name is Mike Hudson, I’m a professor at the University of Waterloo in the Department
of Physics and Astronomy. I’m an astronomer myself, my area of study in particular is
cosmology and galaxy formation. Cosmology is the study of the universe as a whole.
What is the universe made of? We think that 95% of the universe is dark.
It’s two mysterious things, dark matter, and dark energy.
We would like to find out more about what in particular dark matter is. How can we study
it? Specifically, one of the techniques I use
to study dark matter is through observations of a phenomenon called gravitational lensing.
Gravitational lensing was predicted by Albert Einstein. Its the distortion of light rays
as they pass from a distant galaxy towards us, they’re distorted by the matter that’s
in front of them. This amazing technique allows us to actually see dark matter for the first
time. One of the projects I’m working on at the moment is called WFIRST. This is a flagship
NASA satellite to be launched in the near future.
This will be NASA’s successor to the Hubble telescope and it will give us the most detailed
maps of dark matter that have ever been made. In the Physics and Astronomy department we
have a great group of faculty, post docs and graduate students. Together we’re studying
some of the most important questions in the universe. How did the universe form and evolve?
What is it made of? Dark matter, dark energy, what are these things?
Stars and planets, where do they come from? How are planets like our own earth formed
and where are they in the universe? These are critical questions in cosmology.