Director's Colloquium

Dispatches from a Dark Universe

Dr Katie Mack

We are in the era of precision cosmology: our accounting of the basic components of the Universe is approaching the percent level, and the data-supported narrative of the Universe’s early history is broadly accepted as far back as the first 10 billionth of a second. Fluctuations in the microwave afterglow of the hot big bang and the distribution of matter on the largest scales support the so-called Concordance Model of Cosmology to a high degree of precision. However, the Concordance Model carries within it three major unsolved mysteries: dark matter, dark energy, and the very early history of the cosmos. I will discuss how we arrived at the Concordance Model, what it implies about the beginning and end of our Universe, and how the nature of dark matter may be the first of the Concordance Model’s remaining mysteries to be solved.

Dr Katherine (Katie) Mack is a theoretical astrophysicist. Her work focuses on finding new ways to learn about the early universe and fundamental physics using astronomical observations, probing the building blocks of nature by examining the cosmos on the largest scales. Throughout her career as a researcher at Caltech, Princeton, Cambridge, and now Melbourne University, she has studied dark matter, black holes, cosmic strings, and the formation of the first galaxies in the Universe. Katie is also an active online science communicator and is passionate about science outreach. As a science writer, she has been published by Slate, Sky & Telescope,, the Economist tech blog "Babbage", and other popular publications.

RSVP is not required for this event however please arrive early to ensure a seat.

Please join us for refreshments from 11:30am in the RSPE tearoom, Oliphant Building.

Date & time

Thu 5 Mar 2015, 12–1pm


Leonard Huxley lecture Theatre


Staff, students and public welcome