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UKZN staff and students attended a public lecture
by Dr Amanda Weltman on the Dark Universe.

The University of Cape Town’s Dr Amanda Weltman delivered a motivational talk titled: “The Dark Universe”, at UKZN recently.

Weltman, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at UCT, was invited to give the presentation by the Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU) in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science.

She is well known for proposing a new particle – the chameleon particle – to explain the observed accelerated expansion of the universe. This is a dark energy theory that can be observed in a non-cosmological setting which makes it testable and very exciting. She is working on bridging the gaps between cosmology and string theory and on different approaches and tests for dark energy. Last year she received a “P” rating from the country’s National Research Foundation.

The talk explored some interesting questions including: ‘Why we make up the tiniest part of our observable universe and why we live at what appears to be a special time in the history of the universe’.

Weltman touched on issues such as Dark Energy and Dark Matter and the potential for research in the current South African climate. ‘The purpose of the talk was to share with UKZN undergraduates the information about the world around us but also the potential to still learn,’ said Weltman.

‘These big open questions about our universe are likely to be solved by the next generation of new students entering the field of Cosmology. I hope I was able to convey some of the excitement in the field and to highlight to students what a major contribution South Africans can and are making in Cosmology today.