Physicist to Discuss Dark Matter on Facebook Live

Space.com will interview UC Riverside's Flip Tanedo on May 30 to discuss NOVA Wonders episode “What’s the Universe Made of?”

Flip Tanedo is an expert on dark matter and an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at UC Riverside.Photo credit: Kristopher Kooi.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Particle physicist Flip Tanedo will participate in a Space.com “Facebook Live” interview on Wednesday, May 30, in which he will discuss the NOVA Wonders episode “What’s the Universe Made of?” premiering the same day on PBS at 9 p.m. The episode, which is the series finale, focuses on dark matter and dark energy.

The 30-minute Facebook Live interview with Tanedo will be streamed online ahead of the episode, starting at 10 a.m. The interview will be posted here. Space.com has 2.6 million Facebook followers.

Tanedo, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Riverside, will travel next week to the Space.com office in New York City for the live interview. He will discuss dark matter — the gravitationally inferred type of matter thought to account for approximately 80 percent of the universe’s mass — as well as his participation in the episode.

“Many types of science — especially the science of the very large, such as cosmology, and the very small, such as particle physics — feel disconnected from the human-scale endeavors of our everyday lives,” Tanedo said. “NOVA Wonders has done a great job of highlighting not only the frontiers of science, but the human beings who are exploring those frontiers. It’s a reminder that even though the science may be abstract, the passion and drive to understand nature is something that we can all relate to. I’d even say that it’s something that is intrinsic to each of us as human beings.”

At UCR, Tanedo spends the bulk of his time thinking about dark matter and theorizing about ways in which new symmetries could be used to understand and search for particles that account for most of the mass in our galaxy. An advocate for better science communication, he participated in a panel discussion earlier this month at Harvey Mudd College to promote the NOVA Wonders episode. Tanedo said the series, which aimed to feature young scientists who reflected the population’s diversity, appealed to him as a minority, first-generation university student.

“There are great books and articles about dark matter,” Tanedo said. “But the format of NOVA Wonders is unique in the way it reminds us that this science belongs to all of us, either as the explorers at the frontier, or simply as curious human beings looking forward to learn about what lies beyond.”

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