A Comedic Dive into Dark Matter

  • Speakers
  • Mariangela Lisanti, Ph.D. Associate Research Scientist, Cosmology, CCA, Flatiron Institute
    Associate Professor, Physics, Princeton University
  • Matthew Starr headshotMatthew StarrComedian and Writer
Date & Time


Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium
160 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010 United States

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Doors open: 5:30 p.m. (No entrance before 5:30 p.m.)

In Conversation: 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. (Admittance closes at 6:20 p.m.)

Reception: 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

About Presents
Presents is a free events series exploring the connections between science, culture and society. Join our scientists and special guests as they discuss the intersections of their work, followed by an evening of conversation over drinks. It’s an opportunity to hear new perspectives that may challenge your assumptions and stoke your curiosity. Meet interesting people who share a passion for ideas and discovery. Come for the conversation, stay for the connections.

The funny thing about dark matter is that it makes up nearly 85 percent of the matter in our universe, but we have never seen it. This leads us to wonder how something so abundant can remain so elusive.

An unexpected contender exploring the subject is comedian Matthew Starr, who spent the last six months touring his solo stand-up show, appropriately called “Dark Matter.” The show pulled crowds in by comedically drawing parallels between the mysterious nature of dark matter and the more familiar, yet still perplexing, complexities of the human condition.

Mariangela Lisanti, a theoretical particle physicist at the Simons Foundation’s Flatiron Institute and Princeton University, uses numerical simulations to predict how different theories of dark matter would manifest in observations of material in and around galaxies.

Join us for a taste of Starr’s “Dark Matter” stand-up show, followed by a conversation with Lisanti about her work using the invisible to see and better understand what’s right in front of us (just a few million light-years away).


Mariangela Lisanti is an associate professor of physics at Princeton University. She graduated with a B.A. from Harvard University in 2005 and received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2010. Lisanti then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science in 2013 and has since been on the physics faculty at Princeton. She is a theoretical particle physicist by training, and her research focuses on the nature of dark matter. Lisanti’s work tends to be highly interdisciplinary and often incorporates ideas from astrophysics and data science. Currently, her research focuses on how variations of the cold dark matter paradigm affect galactic and sub-galactic scale observables. Her group designs and runs dedicated numerical simulations and works on various data analysis studies.

Matthew Starr is a comedian-writer living in Los Angeles. Starr recently went on tour with his solo show, “Dark Matter.” He is the creator, writer and director of the upcoming Audible Original series “The Best Man’s Ghostwriter” produced by Broadway Video. He was a staff writer and featured panelist for “MTV News: Need to Know” and a head writer and performer at Above Average. Starr is a graduate of The Ohio State University.

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