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Dark Matter

Our observable universe shines with the light of hundreds of billions of galaxies, each with hundreds of billions of stars, vast clouds of gas and dust, nebula cast off in explosions — a zoo of luminous objects. And while that might sound like a lot of stuff, everything we have ever seen constitutes less than 5% of what’s out there. Nearly 25% of the universe’s content hides in an unknown form: Dark Matter. Despite decades of effort to detect dark matter, the substance eludes us.

Janna Levin, astrophysicist and writer, invites physicists Elena Aprile of Columbia and Peter Fisher of MIT to ask if we truly should look for a new fundamental constituent of nature, or could dark matter actually be microscopic black holes?


Janna Levin
Astrophysicist, Barnard/Columbia; Director of Sciences at Pioneer Works; author of Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space.
With guests:

Elena Aprile
Physicist, Columbia University.

Peter Fisher
Physicist, MIT.


Scientific Controversies


What Is Quantum Reality? Does Time Exist? Will Dying Black Holes Explode in Firewalls? Major scientific discoveries can disrupt the traditional order, leaving scientists adrift in concepts that resist familiar intuitions and beliefs. Of the new ideas that emerge, some will be wrong and some will be right. Honest and open scientific controversy helps disentangle one from the other. Eventually, one side of a debate grows in strength and finds confirmation in experiments, while the other atrophies. But both sides of a controversy contribute to the breakthrough of actual discovery – when the utterly abstract barges into the realm of the concrete. This series celebrates that passionate spirit of scientific debate. For the Pioneer Works series Scientific Controversies, we take a look at profound topics at the frontier of physics that have inspired unresolved debates.

Art Unfiltered


Art conversations with working curators, artists, and musicians on topical issues.