What is the Universe made of? This question has been asked as long as humans have been questioning, and astronomers and physicists are finally converging on an answer. The picture which has emerged from numerous complementary observations over the past decade is a surprising one: most of the matter in the Universe isn't visible, and most of the Universe isn't even made of matter. In this talk, I will explain what the rest of this stuff, known as "Dark Energy" is, how it is related to the so-called "Dark Matter", how it impacts the evolution of the Universe, and how we can study the dark universe using observations of light from current and future telescopes.
Risa Wechsler is theoretical cosmologist whose research focuses on understanding how quantum fluctuations in the early Universe develop into the galaxies and large structures of galaxies that we see today. She also works to understand how observations of galaxies can constrain the nature of the dark matter and dark energy that pervade our Universe.
Risa received her S.B from MIT in 1996 and her PhD from University of California at Santa Cruz in 2001. She did postdoctoral work at the University of Michigan and at the University of Chicago, where she was a Hubble Fellow and Enrico Fermi Fellow. She joined the faculty at SLAC and at the Stanford Physics Department as an Assistant Professor in 2006. She is also a member of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology.
» Watch lecture video