INTERNATIONALLY-RENOWNED scientists will descend on Stawell on Tuesday to update the community on a proposed particle physics laboratory.
Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics CoEPP professor Elisabetta Barberio will update the community about the progress of the potential for a dark matter laboratory in the Stawell gold mine.
Gran Sasso director Stefano Ragazzi and Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics director Antonio Masiero will make presentations following their three-day workshop in Great Western.
Professor Barberio said it was exciting to have top researchers involved.
"Italy is a superpower and Gran Sasso is the largest and best underground lab in the world it's the top of the top," she said.
Physicists from across Australia and Italy will attend the workshop.
They will discuss the physics of dark matter, worldwide programs for the direct detection of dark matter and the potential for the first southern hemisphere underground physics laboratory in Stawell.
The visiting professors will also answer questions about the project.
Professor Barberio said the research was focused on trying to discover dark matter.
"When we look at the universe and the mass contained in the visual matter we can see through light, radio, x-ray, ultraviolet, infrared light or when we use something," she said.
"That is only 20 per cent of the mass in the universe and 80 per cent is in a form we cannot see."
She said Stawell's gold mine site was encouraging as it shielded research from cosmic rays, radioactivity and radio waves.
Professor Barberio said once in the underground laboratory, researchers would use particle detectors to try to find dark matter.
"It will be the first experiment of its kind in the southern hemisphere there are many experiments in the northern hemisphere," she said.
She said having a laboratory in the southern hemisphere would allow researchers to investigate the effects of seasons on the experiment.
Professor Barberio said the potential for the underground laboratory, which could be operating within two years, had excited people living in Northern Grampians Shire.
"They like the idea of having a lab to motivate the young people in the community," she said.
She said particle physics research had provided many spin-offs that had led to technological advancements.
Northern Grampians Mayor Kevin Erwin said the opportunity to host world-leading experts on particle physics in the shire was unique.
"This development could be of national, even international, significance within 10 years," he said.
"I encourage people from throughout the region to attend this exciting event and hear the enormous potential this physics laboratory has for our communities."
From Italy to Stawell Why Dark Matters will be on Tuesday from 7pm at the Stawell Entertainment Centre.
A Northern Grampians spokeswoman said RSVPs were essential and should be directed to Meg Newton on 5358 8732.