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Stawell lab focus in Science Week
S“It’s wonderful to be able to introduce new audiences to the exciting research we are preparing to do in Stawell to explore dark matter, which might change the way we understand the universe” – Maddy Zurowski
tudents across Australia have had an opportunity to learn about Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory as part of University of Melbourne’s Science Festival masterclass series.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics students Maddy Zurowski and William Melbourne discussed the role of the laboratory in an online masterclass last week.
The presentation was part of National Science Week.
Ms Zurowski explained dark matter and introduced students and the general community to research that will start in Stawell later in the year.
“It’s wonderful to be able to introduce new audiences to the exciting research we are preparing to do in Stawell to explore dark matter, which might change the way we understand the universe,” she said.
“It’s also great for students and other participants to see what is involved in a career in science, and the different people involved in scientific research.
“National Science Week offers the opportunity for anyone to get an insight into the reality of scientific careers, and the exciting world-class research that Australian researchers are doing, whether in big cities or in regional Victoria.”
Mr Melbourne said the event demystified physics research – a subject that could seem remote from their everyday lives.
“It’s important that students understand what fundamental research looks like in practice so that they know they can be part of this exciting area of study in the future,” he said.
“It is also beneficial for members of the community to gain an insight into the research that their public institutions are funding, so that they can understand its implications and potential.”
The ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics opened in 2020 to bring together physicists from across Australia, in partnership with international researchers and institutions, to pursue an understanding of dark matter.
Dark matter is a mysterious substance that holds galaxies together and constitutes 80 percent of the matter of the universe.
Its existence is inferred from its gravitational interaction. Many consider its exploration as science’s next frontier.
Some of the research will happen one kilometre underground at Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory in Stawell Gold Mine.
The underground location of the mine aims to reduce interference from cosmic rays, the high-energy particles that constantly rain down on Earth.
Expectations are that construction of the laboratory will be finished by the end of 2021.