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.
Observations of tiny fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background radiation give powerful constraints on cosmological parameters and theories of the early universe.
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.
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 are the largest virialized objects in the Universe and are very sensitive probes of the underlying cosmological framework.
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
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.