Dive into Dark Matter

In the late 1970s, Carnegie Science astronomers Vera Rubin and Kent Ford made a groundbreaking observation. They noticed that objects at the far edges of rotating galaxies were moving at the same velocity as objects at the center, defying predictions from Newtonian physics. This discrepancy provided the first solid evidence that there was some invisible substance in the cosmos with enough mass to hold these spinning galaxies together—dark matter.

Today, understanding the nature of dark matter remains a captivating mystery and a compelling scientific frontier.

On June 29, 2023, we welcome you to dive into the past and present, and future of dark matter research with a special Neighborhood Lecture honoring Vera Rubin. Guest speaker Rachael Beaton, an astronomer from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), will deliver a talk entitled "On the Shoulders of a Giant: Continuing Vera Rubin's Quest to Understand Dark Matter.

During the talk, Beaton will highlight Rubin's pioneering observation and the chain of clues that led to her discovery. She will also discuss recent advancements in our understanding of dark matter and its crucial role in the formation of galaxies. Then Beaton will outline exciting avenues for future dark matter research and explore the contributions that observatories like the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and the Nancy Grace Roman Observatory can make to our expanding knowledge of this enigmatic substance. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session with the speaker.

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Event Details

Neighborhood Lecture Flyer Dark Matter

The event will take place at the Greenewalt Auditorium of the Carnegie Science's Broad Branch Road Campus in Washington, DC. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., and light refreshments will be available from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. on the Greenewalt Patio. Registration is required, so RSVP today

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Rachael Beaton Headshot

About the Speaker

Rachael Beaton is an observational astronomer at the Space Telescope Science  Institute (STScI )who uses the properties of stars and galaxies in the nearby Universe to better understand the fundamental properties of the Universe, in particular, the impacts of Dark Energy and Dark Matter. She is also a former Carnegie Science postdoctoral fellow. Before her current role at STScI, Beaton was Carnegie-Princeton Fellow at the Carnegie Science Observatories and a Hubble Fellow at Princeton University. We're thrilled to welcome her back to Carnegie for this talk.

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“There is no problem in science that can be solved by a man that cannot be solved by a woman.”

Vera Rubin, often referred to as the "Mother of Dark Matter," provided the first observational evidence in support of the existence of dark matter—the invisible material that makes up more than 80 percent of the universe’s mass. Her groundbreaking discoveries transformed our understanding of the universe.

Rubin was also an ardent feminist who tirelessly advocated for women to be represented in STEM fields and to have equal opportunities to their male colleagues.

She spent her entire career at Carnegie and retired as a staff astronomer at the Carnegie Science Broad Branch Road campus in Washington, D.C. Her tireless pursuit of knowledge and dedication to advancing women in science continue to inspire generations.

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Science Inspires Art

Kick off your evening of science with an afternoon of art! The Neighborhood Lecture follows a call box art reveal ceremony celebrating Vera Rubin. Join us at 4:30 p.m. Eastern to celebrate Rubin's achievements and advocacy for women in STEM. Please note that separate registration for this event is requested.

This call box celebrates the remarkable achievements of the late Vera Rubin. The event will be held on the grounds of the Carnegie Science Broad Branch Road Campus, Vera Rubin’s scientific home throughout her career. As part of the Chevy Chase Community Call Box Restoration Project, the new installation highlights Rubin’s legacy with captivating artwork by local artists Danielle Feuillan, Sarah Joyce-McCarron, and Laura McCarron. 


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