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Today we invite you to explore the "darkest" areas of science. We will talk about supermassive black holes, take a look at the physics of the void and try to throw light on the darkness underground!
Hungry Supermassive Black Holes
Black holes are certainly the darkest objects in our universe! After all, not even light escapes the gravitational pull of these astronomical beasts. Today we reveal the secrets of the biggest ones, which can contain up to billions of times the mass of our Sun. Join us, but be careful, you might get caught up!
Void: what's happening in the dark spaces of the Universe?
Prof Nick Evans (Professor of Theoretical High Energy Physics)
Remarkably I have spent much of my research career thinking about "vaccum" - the, apparently, empty space that fills most of the Universe. It isn't empty at all but full of quantum foam and strange dense substances that explain the properties of the stuff that lives in it. The masses and interactions of particles are controlled by the properties of the space they travel through. I'll explain this telling you about quarks and their immensely strong colour interactions. The higgs boson is also a key part of this story suppressing the interactions that cause radioactive decay.
Illuminating the underworld
Dr. Matt Himsworth (Senior Research Fellow)
What lurks beneath our feet? Are there secret tunnels, diamond reserves or even a sinkhole ready to gobble us up? Surprisingly we know very little about what is below us, even the stuff that we put there! Science is coming up with increasingly clever ways to explore what lurks in the dark underground. This talk will discuss a recently developed technique that uses atomic clocks to measure the variation in gravity that dense or hollow objects produce. We aim to use this in a number of areas from helping civil engineers plan construction works to monitoring tectonic fault lines.