Dark matter and dinosaurs discussed over dinner

3 July 2017

Does dark matter interact with itself? Could dark life exist? Has the gravitational pull of dark matter led to the extinction of the dinosaurs?

Lisa Randall


These were just some of the topics discussed by Harvard University theoretical physicist Professor Lisa Randall at a dinner held at the IOP in London on 27 June.

Randall, an Honorary Fellow of the IOP, introduced her book, Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astonishing Interconnectedness of the Universe. The book combines a number of fields to tell the story of how it is possible that the pull of a dark matter disk in the plane of our galaxy may be responsible for the destabilisation of objects in the distant Oort Cloud circling our solar system, including the meteoroid  that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Addressing a diverse group of accomplished physicists, students and science enthusiasts, Randall discussed her scenario, touching on a broad range of topics in cosmology and theoretical physics and provided ample opportunity for the audience to probe the book’s many fascinating concepts.

The event was hosted by IOP president-elect, Professor Dame Julia Higgins, who thanked Randall on behalf of the IOP for her visit and praised Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs as an enjoyable and engaging work.

Of the evening, Higgins said: “It was a great pleasure to bring together curious minds from finance, industry and the charitable sector to engage with one another and with Professor Randall on such an interesting topic. We are very grateful that Professor Randall could join us and that so many people with an interest in physics came together to make the night possible.”