Particles and Parallel Worlds: The Science Behind 'His Dark Materials'

northern lights

Event details

Thursday 3 March 2022
Lecture Theatre 1, The Diamond
Free entry. Booking required
Booking via Eventbrite


Could parallel worlds really exist? How can we see the invisible workings of the universe? What exactly are the northern lights?

This World Book Day, join us for an evening of fascinating talks and discussion exploring the science behind Phillip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy.

In his award winning novels Pullman explores some of the most fundamental questions about our world and how we make sense of it. These questions and the imaginative responses he poses, reflect much of the ‘real’ world of physics and the answers that physicists seek.

Inspired by the ideas and themes in the trilogy, our panel of physics researchers will bring Pullman’s worlds to life through cutting edge research and share some of the remarkable things we have learned, and have yet to learn, about our universe. The event will include presentations from each speaker and, after a short break, a panel discussion with the opportunity for you to put your questions to the panellists.

This evening is open to all, you don’t need a background in physics or science, if you’re interested in the workings of our universe, or just love ‘His Dark Materials’ we’d love to see you there! If you can't attend this event in person, we will also be livestreaming it. If you'd like to be kept up to date about this and sent the joining link, click on 'Register for online livestream' in the ticket options.

Speaker Bios:

Dr Susan Cartwright - Senior lecturer in the Particle Physics and Astrophysics group at the University of Sheffield. Susan’s main research field at present is the T2K neutrino oscillation experiment currently operating in Japan. The neutrino is very common in the universe but very very difficult to detect, these elusive particles play a key role in the development and structure of our Universe.

Professor Simon Goodwin - Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Sheffield. Simon’s research centres on star formation. In particular, how stars move and interact in their first few million years (and the potential impact on planet formation), and how we can compare observations to theory/simulations.

Professor Ed Daw - Professor of Gravitational Waves and Dark Matter Physics at the University of Sheffield. Ed’s research interests include gravitational radiation and the hunt for exotic types of dark matter. Ed is part of the team of scientists behind the discovery of gravitational waves – ripples in the fabric of spacetime first predicted by Albert Einstein over a century ago.

Jordan McElwee - PhD Student in the Particle Physics and Astrophysics group at the University of Sheffield. Jordan's research is with the T2K experiment in Japan, focussing on how the neutrino interacts with atomic nuclei.


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