The Universe in 199 words

Dark matter is the missing link.Stuart Clark

Our universe exploded into being about 14 billion years ago, for motives which are unclear. Equal amounts of matter and anti-matter were made but most of the anti-matter mysteriously disappeared. And so the universe became biased towards life (matter). But only a ‘mere- smear’ of the universe is Normal Matter – that’s the atoms in stars, planets, you and me – the bulk is dark stuff.

This pie (Image: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss) shows the ingredients of the universe. Most of it is Dark Energy that hides in the vacuum of space. We don’t yet know what it is, but it’s made the universe expand. Dark Matter is made of particles that are also invisible to us but we can see galaxies being affected by its force. The smallest slice of the universe is Normal Matter. Matter is built up from extremely small bits to extremely big bits: from inner space to outer space. Sub-atomic particles are arranged into atoms,  atoms into molecules; molecules into cells and organisms; and so on up to galaxies and dark stuff. Everything belongs.

We exist only because of subtle connections between the very small and the very large. Charles Birch

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