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Scientists in Heidelberg, Bonn and Munich Investigate the “Dark Universe”

Press Release No. 113/2010
27 May 2010
Second funding period: approx. 10 million euros from the German Research Foundation for Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio 33
Teleskop Südpol
South Pole Telescope

Foto: Jeff McMahon

The Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio (SFB/TRR) “The Dark Universe” at the universities of Heidelberg, Bonn and Munich will be continuing its successful work for a further four years. After review by an international panel, the German Research Foundation has approved a total of approx. 10 million euros for a second period of funding. The research work in the fields of cosmology, astrophysics and particle physics will be coordinated at Heidelberg University. The scientists involved in SFB/TRR 33 are investigating the existence of dark matter and dark energy.

Together, dark matter and dark energy make up over 95% of the energy density of the universe. But the physical nature and fundamental composition of dark matter have yet to be revealed. Elucidating its existence is a priority aim for theoretical and experimental research in physics. Researchers are also looking into whether dark energy is static or dynamic in nature. The possible interaction between, or the joint origin of, dark matter and dark energy are also the subject of study. Measurements that allow the determination of the percentage of dark energy as a function of time will supplement ongoing theoretical progress.

Alongside the universities of Heidelberg, Bonn and Munich, scientists working at the Max Planck Institutes of Astrophysics and Extraterrestrial Physics and the European Southern Observatory (ESO) are also involved in the Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio “The Dark Universe”. “This cross-boundary cooperation gives us the chance to assume a leading international role in a research field of dark matter and dark energy that will continue to grow in the coming years,” says the spokesperson of SFB/TRR 33, Prof. Dr. Christof Wetterich of Heidelberg University’s Institute of Theoretical Physics. The ongoing research venture is divided into 18 subprojects, eight of them new. The second period of funding begins in July of this year.

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