Whitby and the Cosmos

Whitby and the Cosmos: The Search for Dark Matter

Sponsored by the Royal Society as part of their places of science scheme, the exhibition showcases the importance of Whitby and the surrounding area in scientific research both above and below ground.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is the ZEPLIN III dark matter detector which was used at Boulby Underground Laboratory until 2011 and has been donated to the Museum by Imperial College London. The exhibition tells the story of the remarkable and internationally important work taking place in Boulby Underground Laboratory. More than a kilometre below the earth’s surface the laboratory is the only facility in the UK where studies into the universe’s dark matter can be carried out almost entirely free of interference from natural background radiation.

But Whitby’s scientific contribution goes much further back than that. In 1768 Captain James Cook’s voyage was commissioned by the Royal Society to map the transit of Venus. This allowed astronomers to calculate the distance from the earth to the sun and other planets. The exhibition will highlight Captain Cook’s role as an innovator in scientific exploration whose work contributed to our current understanding of the universe.

The exhibition runs until 20th July.

We are extremely grateful to the Royal Society, Imperial College London, Boulby Underground Laboratory and ICL (owners of Boulby Mine) for their help and support in staging this exciting exhibition.

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ZEPLIN III pictured with Roger Osborne, exhibition curator; Professor Henrique Araujo, professor of physics at Imperial College and Professor Pawel Majewski, dark matter expert of Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.

 

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