The stuff that the universe is made of

30 March 2007 | Story by Megan Morris

Oxford cosmologist Prof Joe Silk with UCT's Prof Emeritus George Ellis

Renowned Oxford cosmologist Professor Joe Silk gave a packed UCT New Science Lecture Theatre a potted introduction to the history of the universe on Wednesday, 28 March.

In the lunchtime public lecture, Silk ran his audience through the evolution of the Big Bang theory, from its theoretical roots in the early 1920s to its current high-tech models. These days, scientists believe that only a small portion of the universe - now said to be some 13.7 billion years old '“ is made up of baryonic matter (the matter that we're made of). The lion's share of the universe, said Silk, is thought to be the hotly pursued dark energy (74%) and dark matter (22%).

Silk, who holds the almost-400-year-old Savilian Chair of Astronomy at the University of Oxford and is the author of 2005's On the Shores of the Unknown: A Short History of the Universe, was at UCT as a guest of Professor Peter Dunsby of the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics.

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