Institute of Astronomy

Cosmology and Fundamental Physics

Research interests in Cosmology and Fundamental Physics at the Institute of Astronomy cover a wide array of physical phenomena, spanning a large range of astrophysical scales and epochs - from the present day properties of the Universe going back in time to the surface of  last scattering and the Planck scale era.

In order to study these complex and non-linear physical phenomena with the highest possible realism, researchers are using sophisticated numerical codes and taking advantage of high performance super-computer facilities available locally, such as the UK National Cosmology Supercomputer (COSMOS), and the Computing Cluster Darwin, one of the largest academic supercomputers in the UK.

Cosmic Microwave Background

Observations of tiny fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background radiation give powerful constraints on cosmological parameters and theories of the early universe.

Cosmic Reionisation

During the epoch of reionization the first stars and black holes in the Universe (re-) ionized the Intergalactic Medium. Studying the epoch of reionization will tell us about the first galaxies.

First Quasars

Observations of nearby galaxies and high-redshift quasars suggest that  black holes are present in  the majority of galaxies. The first quasars harbor already black holes as massive as several billion solar masses.

Galaxy Clusters

Galaxy clusters are the largest virialized objects in the Universe and are very sensitive probes of the underlying cosmological framework.

Galaxy Formation

Galaxies provide us with valuable clues on the large scale properties of the Universe in which they are embedded. Equally important, they tell us about the physical processes which are responsible for star formation

Gravitational Waves

Gravitational Waves are ripples in the curvature of spacetime as predicted by Einstein in his theory of General Relativity. Sources include compact binaries, spinning non-axisymmetric objects and supernovae.

Forming Supermassive Black Holes

Black holes are among the most fascinating phenomena thought to exist in the Universe. A black hole is a region of space in which the gravitational field is so powerful that nothing, not even light, can normally escape.

Page last updated: 18 March 2012 at 23:38