Dark Matter, Dark Energy

The Dark Side of the Universe

Dark Matter, Dark Energy: The Dark Side of the Universe is a set of 24 half-hour lectures, available on DVD from The Great Courses. See also my other courses: Mysteries of Modern Physics -- Time, and The Higgs Boson and Beyond.

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About

These are a series of twenty-four professionally produced pedagogical lectures on DVD, introducing modern cosmology through a focus on two of its most fascinating aspects: dark matter and dark energy. The kind of matter with which we are familiar -- atoms and molecules, and indeed every particle we have ever created in a laboratory -- only makes up about 5% of the universe. Another 25% is dark matter, a kind of particle that is massive and weakly interacting. The remaining 70% is dark energy, which is not even a particle -- it's a smoothly-distributed energy field that remains persistent in density even as the universe expands. The quest to understand dark matter and dark energy is the most important task of twenty-first century cosmology.

The lectures are meant for anyone with a curious mind, regardless of their background. No prior familiarity with physics or astrophysics is assumed. We start with the fundamental ideas of relativity and particle physics, work our way up to the astonishing discoveries of modern observational cosmology, and dig deeply into speculative ideas about what dark matter and dark energy might be telling us about the nature of space, time, and matter. The lectures can be enjoyed by anyone, taken at whatever pace is most comfortable; full lecture transcripts are also available, as well as an extensive reading list and questions relating to each lecture.

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