The Dark Side of the Universe
Roughly 95 percent of the material in the universe is in an exotic form that we know very little about, and this fraction is increasing.
Recent measurements of the cosmic microwave background have provided precise information on the mass budget of the universe: Five percent is in the form of regular protons and neutrons and 25 percent is in the form of dark matter - material that has the same gravitational properties as regular matter, but that we can't see. The rest of the universe is composed of dark energy - material that we can't see but that appears to be causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate. Over the next 10 billion years (very roughly equal to the current age of the universe), the universe appears to be headed toward domination by dark energy.
Canada Research Chair Dr. Gilbert Holder is looking at different ways to learn about the evolution of dark energy and to test our understanding of dark matter. He does this by studying distant objects, which represent earlier times in the universe, and by tracing the history of structure formation. Through a blend of numerical simulations and analytical modelling, he hopes to identify promising methods for determining experimentally the cosmic evolution of dark energy and dark matter.
The mysteries of dark energy and dark matter are thought to have intimate ties to particle physics at energies beyond the range of the largest accelerators. Solving these mysteries is providing information about the properties of the universe at the Big Bang. Furthermore, the ultimate fate of the universe is deeply connected to dark energy and its evolution. Dr. Holder's research, therefore, is working on finding experimental approaches to answering fundamental questions about the origin, evolution, current state - and future - of our universe.