Nathalie Palanque, a dark-haired person wearing a black jackets, smiles for a headshot outdoors.

What is dark matter?

What is dark energy?

What happened during inflation?

What does the universe tell us about the fundamental particles?

What’s wrong with gravity?

Group of scientists pose behind a large telescope mirror. Members of the LZ team in the LZ water tank after the outer detector installation. Abstract colors and cosmic microwaves. Supernova explosion in the center of the milky way. Scientist and student stand in front of a cosmic poster. Supernova explosion. Isolated Neutron star. A view of a partially assembled focal plane petal with an array of robotic positioners that is each connected to a fiber. Person with gray hair wearing a navy sweater over a blue and white checkered collared shirt, photographed outdoors with an ocean in the background.

Michael Levi is a senior scientist in the Physics Division and director of the international DESI collaboration, which aims to measure the effect of dark energy on the expansion of the universe.

Person with short black hair wearing a gray collared shirt, photographed indoors against a gray backdrop.

Aritoki Suzuki is a staff scientist in the Physics Division. His group designs, fabricates, and tests ultra sensitive detectors and readout electronics for Cosmic Microwave Background, Dark Matter, and QIS experiments by utilizing superconductivity. He is also exploring the early universe by landing a radio receiver on the far side of the moon.

Person with medium length blonde hair wearing a hat, sunglasses, and a collared tan jacket over a white shirt, photographed outdoors.

Claire Poppett is a researcher in astrophysics at the UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory who specializes in Astronomical Instrumentation. She is motivated to research and develop new technical solutions necessary to build the next generation of astronomical instruments in order to answer the big questions about our universe.

NGC 520, one of the largest and brightest galaxies in the Siena Galaxy Atlas. David Schlegel, a person with short brown hair, wearing a black blazer over a light blue collared shirt and yellow and blue striped tie. Photographed against a gray backdrop.

Both researchers and amateur astronomers can now access a new atlas with detailed information on more than 380,000 galaxies: the Siena Galaxy Atlas (SGA). The collection, which provides precise measurements of the locations, shapes, and sizes of large nearby galaxies, promises to be a boon to future astronomical inquiry and is freely accessible online for all to use.

In this episode, we speak with Nobel Laureate Saul Perlmutter (the co-discoverer of dark energy) and rising astrophysics instrumentation scientist Claire Poppett about what we know so far, and how new technology could finally shed (metaphorical) light on this fundamental mystery.

A field site on a snowy field. The sky is illuminated with stars and aurora borealis. This artist’s rendering shows LuSEE-Night atop the Blue Ghost spacecraft scheduled to deliver the experiment to the far side of the moon. A 3D map of space, with streams of light pointing in different directions from a central focal point. Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant construction. A large glowing laser table. CPU desktop with the contacts facing up lying on the motherboard of the PC. the chip is highlighted with blue light. Technology background