October 24, 2022

Peter Fisher

Harvard Book Store, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome MIT Professor PETER FISHER for a discussion of his new book What Is Dark Matter?


Astronomical observations have confirmed dark matter’s existence, but what exactly is dark matter? In What Is Dark Matter?, particle physicist Peter Fisher introduces readers to one of the most intriguing frontiers of physics. We cannot actually see dark matter, a mysterious, nonluminous form of matter that is believed to account for about 27 percent of the mass-energy balance in the universe. But we know dark matter is present by observing its ghostly gravitational effects on the behavior and evolution of galaxies. Fisher brings readers quickly up to speed regarding the current state of the dark matter problem, offering relevant historical context as well as a close look at the cutting-edge research focused on revealing dark matter’s true nature.

Could dark matter be a new type of particle―an axion or a Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP)―or something else? What have physicists ruled out so far―and why? What experimental searches are now underway and planned for the near future, in hopes of detecting dark matter on Earth or in space? Fisher explores these questions and more, illuminating what is known and unknown, and what a triumph it will be when scientists discover dark matter’s identity at last.

About Author(s)

Peter Fisher is the Thomas A. Frank (1977) Professor of Physics and currently serves as Head of the Office of Research Computing and Data at MIT. Fisher is a founder of WiTricity, a startup developing wireless energy transmission for commercial use. Fisher serves as a referee for several journals as well as Editor for the International Journal of Physics and Modern Physics Letters. He carried out one of the first dark matter searches and since then has searched for dark matter on Earth and in space, including inventing a new kind of detector, the Dark Matter Time Projection Chamber. He recently published a book, What is Dark Matter? with Princeton University Press.