The Dark Matter Garden at Daresbury

The Daresbury Dark Matter Garden

As Everything Dinosaur team members prepare to take part in the public open day at Daresbury Laboratory (Cheshire), there was time to admire the wonderful, mature Dark Matter garden on the site.  The garden was commissioned in 2015 to mark the centenary of the publication of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

A View into the Dark Matter Garden Located at Daresbury Laboratory (Cheshire)

The dark matter garden (Daresbury Science Laboratories)

A view into the Dark Matter garden at Daresbury Science Laboratories (Warrington, Cheshire)

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

What is Dark Matter?

Dark Matter is very mysterious, it is the “stuff” that is believed to make up a significant percentage of our universe, but it cannot be seen and detecting it is extremely difficult.  However, we can measure the effect of Dark Matter on other objects.  It has gravitational effects on visible matter, these effects can be detected and the presence of this Dark Matter inferred from such interactions.

The Award Winning Dark Matter Garden

The award winning Daresbury dark matter garden.

The warped steel rods represent the effect of dark matter on the bending of light.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The garden has matured since it was awarded a gold rating at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show last year.  The planting emphasises our changing universe and the warped steel rods, as they bend and twist through the plot represent the bending of the trajectory of light around massive objects.  As the wind blows through the substantial bamboo grass in the centre it reflects the effect invisible forces have.  At one end is a large square metal structure with a round aperture.  The symbolises the human view from Earth based telescopes as we look into space and explore the wonders of the universe.

The Hunt for Dark Matter

Dark Matter fascinates the scientific community and scientists from all over the world are working hard to understand more about it.  Our planet would not have formed without it, stars, galaxies and our universe is dependent upon it yet Dark Matter’s existence has only been proved indirectly.  Scientists are on a quest to find out more about it.

Professor Andy Newsam, Director of the National Schools’ Observatory at Liverpool John Moores University which organised the garden, explained:

“Dark Matter is a hypothetical kind of matter that cannot be seen with telescopes but accounts for most of the matter in the universe.  The existence and properties of Dark Matter are inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter, radiation and the large-scale structure of the universe.”

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), as funders of Dark Matter research in the UK and at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, sponsored the Chelsea Flower Show exhibit.

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