Dark Matter Day is coming ... but Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

The Dark Matter Day logo

(Credit: Sandbox Studio, Chicago)

28 July 2017

This Halloween, prepare for something really, really dark.

On 31 October 2017, the world will come together to celebrate one of the biggest mysteries of our Universe, dark matter, and you can play a part – don’t be left in the dark.

Dark Matter Day will mark the global hunt for dark matter, the huge part of the Universe that scientists’ calculations tell us exists, but that has never been observed.

Everything we can see around us and the matter that scientists can account for makes up just five percent of the Universe, the rest is a mystery that researchers across the globe are trying to solve.

Dark Matter Day will tell tales of the unknown about this mysterious mass, at local Dark Matter Day events planned all over the globe by organisations and individuals.

There will be the chance to meet scientists, take part in competitions, and find out about the many experiments all over the globe dedicated to solving this mystery.

In the UK events are already being arranged – here is a selection of the events taking place so far:

  • Family event at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory during the October half term.

  • Family event at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory during the October half term.

  • Family event at STFC’s UK Astronomy Technology Centre in the week leading up to Dark Matter Day.

  • Live link up to STFC’s Boulby Mine for schools on Dark Matter Day 31 October.

  • An evening of talks and discussion at King’s College London on Dark Matter Day 31 October.

  • Café Scientifique at The Filmhouse Café, Edinburgh on Monday 30 October.

Please keep an eye on STFC’s Twitter page @STFC_Matters and the Dark Matter Day website where more details will be unveiled.

An infographic on Dark Matter showing the percentages of visible matter, dark matter and dark energy found in the universe

Dark Matter Infographic.
(Credit: STFC/Ben Gilliland)

Who can take part?

Anyone who wants to learn or share information about dark matter—adults, kids, non-scientists, scientists, science institutions and organisations, science educators and communicators can get involved by organizing or attending local Dark Matter Day events on or leading up to October 31, 2017.

Dark Matter Day events could include a tour of a dark matter experiment or science laboratory in your area where they develop matter theories or participate in dark matter research, a dark matter-themed planetarium show or film presentation, a live chat or Q&A, a classroom discussion, a science talk by an individual, or a panel of dark matter experts.

How can you get involved?

  • Organise events - We’re looking for people to host events and run dark matter sessions at existing events to help us celebrate the world’s first Dark Matter Day. Everything you need to get started can be found on the Dark Matter Day website.

  • Attend events – As we move towards 31 October we will be populating our dedicated Dark Matter Day website with events here: Find an Event.

  • Follow us on Twitter – we will be giving regular updates about Dark Matter Day. Follow us: @STFC_Matters.

Notes to editors

Contacts

For a press contact in your region.
Email: darkmatterday@interactions.org.
Email: lucy.stone@stfc.ac.uk.

About Dark Matter Day

This first-ever Dark Matter Day campaign was conceived by the Interactions Collaboration, a group of science communicators including from STFC, representing the world’s particle physics laboratories.

What is dark matter? Find out in more detail here:

Dark matter explains how galaxies spin at a faster-than-expected rate without coming apart. Scientists know from these and other space observations that there is “missing” mass—something we can’t see—that makes up an estimated 85 percent of the total mass of the universe. So a big part of the universe is largely unknown to us.

Finding out what dark matter is made of is a pressing pursuit in physics. We don’t yet know if it’s composed of undiscovered particles or whether it requires some other change in our understanding of the universe’s laws of physics. A host of innovative experiments are hunting for the source of dark matter using mile-deep detectors, powerful particle beams, and even space-based and ground-based telescopes.

Why is there a day dedicated to dark matter?

Revealing dark matter’s true nature will tell us a lot about the origins, evolution, and overall structure in the universe, and will reshape our understanding of physics.

Dark Matter Day events are intended to educate the public about the importance of learning all we can about dark matter to develop a fuller picture of the unseen universe. Focusing more brainpower and scientific resources on dark matter’s mysteries could lead to new ideas and new discoveries.

Where can I find out more?

The Dark Matter Day website includes resources that can help you find and connect with local dark matter experts, plan a programme for a particular audience, and promote and share your events with the world.

Check out some of the website’s offerings:

Need more help?

Members of the Interactions Collaboration want you to be a part of Dark Matter Day. Please send us an email with any questions, comments, or suggestions.

About Interactions

The Interactions Collaboration seeks to support the international science of particle physics and to set visible footprints for peaceful collaboration across all borders. The Dark Matter Day website was developed and is jointly maintained by the Interactions Collaboration, whose members represent the world's particle physics laboratories in Europe, North America, and Asia, with funding provided by science funding agencies of many nations.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000