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W. David Baird Lecture Series Presents Dark Matter Physicist Flip Tanedo

Flip Tanedo

On Tuesday, September 12, 2023, Seaver College’s W. David Baird Lecture Series will welcome Phillip “Flip” Tanedo, associate professor of theoretical physics at University of California, Riverside, to speak on the topic of dark matter at 5 PM in Elkins Auditorium. Tanedo, who holds degrees in mathematics and physics from Stanford University, Cambridge University, Durham University, and Cornell University, uses quantum field theory to address and pursue questions about the elusive concept of dark matter.

During an appearance on the Ologies podcast with host Alie Ward, Tanedo shared his insights on the vastness of dark matter and how little most people know about it. “We’ve known about dark matter for over 100 years,” he explained. “Everything you learn from a textbook is basically about a really tiny slice of  ‘normal matter,’ but 25 percent of the universe is made of dark matter, and only 5 percent is made of the stuff we are used to.”

Tanedo’s research grapples with this disparity; attempts to determine what exactly dark matter is, how it came about, and what it's doing; and endeavors to confirm its exact particle identity. Over the course of his academic career, he has contributed to 42 scholarly articles focused on topics that could shed further light on the mystifying physical concept. 

Originally introduced to physics and mathematics by programs such as LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: The Next Generation, Tanedo’s path toward becoming the first Filipino-American professor of particle physics is unique. However, his curiosity and exuberance for all things Sci-Fi resonate as engaging touchpoints for those unfamiliar with the world of theoretical physics. 

“In addition to Tanedo’s impressive scholarly contributions, he has a talent for making complex topics approachable to the non-expert,” says Dana Dudley, assistant dean of Seaver College. “I hope students from a variety of disciplines will attend and learn more about physics and dark matter.” 

Tanedo’s talk on dark matter will serve as the first W. David Baird lecture for the 2023–2024 academic year. The lecture series was created in 2002 by W. David Baird, Dean Emeritus of Seaver College. For 21 years, the interdisciplinary event has invited experts and thinkers from a variety of fields to campus and has featured guests such as Jack Hannah, Myrlie Evers, John Kerry, Cornel West, Lester Holt, David Brooks, and Condoleezza Rice. 

To learn more about Tanedo and the history of this event, visit the W. David Baird lecture series webpage.