Public lecture: Melbourne

Unravel the mysteries of dark matter with Professor Alan Duffy as part of the National Quantum & Dark Matter Road Trip.

Join the National Quantum & Dark Matter Road Trip in Melbourne to hear from an expert in the field on how and why we hunt for dark matter.

Date: Friday 18 August 2023
Time: 6:30 pm: arrival and tea/coffee; 7:00–8:15 pm: public lecture and Q&A
Venue: Swinburne Advanced Manufacturing & Design Centre, 453 Burwood Road, Hawthorn VIC 3122

This is a FREE event, but registration is required.


Speaker: Professor Alan Duffy

Title: Darkness visible down under

Summary: Physics, as a discipline, intends to provide compelling scientific explanations to the phenomena that we know—whether they are macroscopic or microscopic.  Quantum mechanics, particle physics and Einstein’s theory of gravity are all examples of incredible achievements by the physics community that have withstood the test of time.  Yet, the mathematical laws that capture so well the properties of atoms and planets fail to explain the rotation of galaxies and the distribution of matter across the sky.  They fail unless one assumes that an invisible matter, unknown to us on Earth, permeates the Universe, or one accepts that Einstein’s theory of gravity needs to be modified.  In this talk, I will present some of the mind-blowing ideas proposed by theoretical physicists and the remarkable technology invented by experimentalists to test these new concepts, and how ultimately the exploration of the very faint and distant Universe will drastically change our understanding of the Universe and our place within it.

Bio: Professor Alan Duffy is the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Flagship Initiatives at Swinburne University of Technology, bringing together diverse research teams with industry and government stakeholders to undertake transformative programs in Flagship sectors of hydrogen, renewable technologies, AI, space and aerospace, MedTech and health innovation.  Alan’s research background is simulating baby universes on supercomputers to understand how galaxies like our Milky Way form within vast clouds of dark matter.  He is trying to find this dark matter as a Chief Investigator in the $35M ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics and SABRE, the Southern Hemisphere’s first WIMP dark matter detector, currently being built at the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory at the bottom of an active gold mine in Victoria.

We are very grateful to Swinburne University and the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing for their support of this event.


Major funding support

Australian Research Council

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS) acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present.