Professor Catherine Heymans, University of Edinburgh, hosts the 23rd Hintze lecture and poses the question: cosmic concordance or tension on the dark side?
Exquisite observations of the early Universe by the Planck satellite have provided the strongest evidence yet that the Universe we live in is very dark indeed.
Its precise results show that our Universe is composed of 26.6% dark matter and 68.4% dark energy, while less than 5% is made up of the baryonic material that we are familiar with on Earth. With the long-standing quest to make these precision measurements essentially now concluded, cosmologists are rapidly turning their attention to a much bigger and further-reaching question: what is the exact nature of this mysterious dark universe?
Professor Catherine Heymans, the Astronomer Royal for Scotland, will introduce us to the European Southern Observatory Kilo-Degree Survey (KiDS). With her team, Catherine has used KiDS to map invisible dark matter and confront theories on the origins of dark energy.
Interestingly the increasing precision of KiDS, and other surveys, has revealed a tension with Planck’s initial conclusions. Is this is a sign that new data challenges lie ahead, or is it our first hint that the universe is truly exotic and that in order to understand the dark universe we will need some new physics that will forever change our cosmic view?