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Delve into the deepest, darkest mysteries of the physical world. Hear from the scientists about how the research they do here on Earth helps us understand the nature of the universe. Find out about how bathtubs act like black holes, magnetic levitation, and how a substance we know almost nothing about, prevents the entire universe collapsing in on itself. NB: All under 18's must be accompanied by an adult.
The Dark Side of the Universe
Billions of years ago the Big Bang sent everything flying apart. In theory, gravity should eventually cause matter to re-collapse on itself but, to our surprise, we have learnt that galaxies are actually moving apart with ever-increasing speed. Nothing in our current knowledge of physics can explain this, but theorists are developing a solution: dark energy. Roughly 70% of our universe is comprised of dark energy and yet very little is known about it. I will describe what we currently know about the nature of dark energy, and our plans to learn more about this mysterious substance.
Levitation recreates nature's dumbbells
When an asteroid hits the Earth, sometimes, alongside chaos and destruction, small glassy objects called tektites are scattered across the continents. These tektites come in a range of shapes, and are thought to be created from spinning drops of molten rock. Surprisingly, these shapes also seem to crop up in 2 completely unrelated and wildly different phenomena: nuclear fission and black holes! In this Pint of Science, I will discuss my technique of using magnetic levitation to reproduce this spin-shape evolution in spinning molten candle wax.
Black holes in the bathtub
I will talk about easy-to-access physical systems which can be used in the laboratory and to mimic some aspects of black holes. For example, the study of waves traveling on the surface of water draining in a bathtub sheds light into the bizarre way black holes lose mass and angular momentum as they gather matter inwards.