Tales from the darkside

The term ‘dark matter’ has become a favourite of Sci-Fi, appearing in numerous books, TV shows and films. But what is it? Professor Alex Murphy and Professor Martin Hendry sit down to discuss the significance of this from Shetland.

Well, the honest answer is that we don’t know, and it might not even exist. But if it does – and most scientists think it does exist – then we have some pretty good ideas for what it might be.

Most importantly, it would be a genuinely new form of matter and may be the key to unlocking a deeper understanding of the universe and how it works.

Around the world, using particle accelerators, space telescopes and ultra-sensitive detectors in deep underground laboratories, the search is on to find dark matter.

RSE Senior Public Engagement Medal

Alex Murphy was the RSE Senior Public Engagement medal recipient for 2021, having a long-standing track record of outstanding contributions to science’s public engagement (especially in particle physics and searches for dark matter.)

Professor Martin Hendry will present Professor Alex Murphy with the RSE Senior Public Engagement medal during this event. 

Book in-person


A man in a suit and tie
Professor Alex Murphy


Professor Alex Murphy FRSE

Professor of Nuclear & Particle Astrophysics, University of Edinburgh

Alex Murphy is Professor of Nuclear and Particle Astrophysics at the University of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was awarded the British Science Association Lord Kelvin prize in mathematical and physical sciences. Above ground, he uses particle accelerators to explore the lives and deaths stars, while below ground he builds the world’s most sensitive instruments to search for dark matter. He has served on a number of the UKs senior science advisory boards and is a keen enthusiast for public engagement in science.

Professor Martin Hendry


Professor Martin Hendry

Professor of Gravitational Astrophysics and Cosmology at the University of Glasgow

Martin Hendry is Professor of Gravitational Astrophysics and Cosmology at the University of Glasgow, where in 2022 he was appointed Clerk of Senate and Vice Principal of the University. He is a senior member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration: the global scientific team who, with their colleagues in the Virgo Collaboration, made the first ever detection of gravitational waves – a discovery awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics. Martin is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He is a passionate advocate for science education and communication and in 2015 he was awarded the MBE for services to the public understanding of science.



Thursday March 30th, 2023 19:00-20:00


Shetland Museum & Archives