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Cosmology Short Courses

The Dark Universe, 2010

Museum Partnerships

Space Explorers

About Cosmology

A Cosmology Short Course for Museum & Planetarium Staff
September 24 - 26, 2010

The Dark Universe, 2010

Past KICP Cosmology Short Courses
On-Line Talks
Video CARMA (Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy)

A Cosmology Short Course for Museum & Planetarium Staff: The Dark Universe, 2010
September 24 - 26, 2010

The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics @ The University of Chicago

AUDIENCE: Museum & Planetarium Staff (Informal Science Educators)


  • Educate individuals who will inspire & educate others about cosmology
  • Introduce current astrophysical research into museums and planetaria, directly impacting tens of thousands of individuals




The Dark Universe

For over 70 years, astrophysicists have had indications that much of our universe is made up of dim or invisible material. Today, a wide variety of astronomical observations all point us to the conclusion that the vast majority (about 95%) of the energy and mass in our universe is not made up of atoms, but instead consists of exotic and rather poorly understood substances we call dark matter and dark energy. This short course will discuss what we know about dark matter and dark energy, and how we came to learn that they exist. We will also explore how future experiments might help us to better understand dark matter and dark energy, and roles that they play in our universe's past, present, and future.

Application Deadline: June 15, 2010.


Marcela CarenaJuan CollarScott DodelsonJosh Frieman*
Dan Hooper*Rocky KolbAndrey KravtsovRandy Landsberg*
Mark SubbaRaoMichael Turner  

* Course Directors

Marcela Carena

Juan Collar

Josh Frieman

Rocky Kolb

Past KICP Cosmology Short Courses

KICP short courses are designed with both the complex nature of modern cosmology and real needs of museum and planetarium staff in mind. These courses strive to provide attendees with a front row view of the excitement of discovery and sufficient background so that they feel comfortable incorporating cosmology into their home institution. They also provide tools, resources and expert advice to help participants create effective new programming and exhibits.

A survey of past course attendees conducted in 2009 found that the KICP short courses have been instrumental in helping the planetarium community incorporate current research into their exhibits, shows and teaching. The survey found that:

  • 23 past participants had created new shows based on a short course
  • 198 thousand students and 1.39 million visitors had been exposed to cosmology as a direct result of the courses

Origin of Structure in the Universe (2003)

Extreme Astronomy @ the Planetarium (2004)

Big Bang & Beyond, 21st Century Cosmology (2005)

Chicago Maps the Cosmos (2007)


UChicago Department of Physics
UChicago Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
Enrico Fermi Institute

Other Kavli Institutes

Last update: November 13, 2010