UK (Durham University) Centre for space research celebrates 20th anniversary
Our Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Since opening in 2002, the Centre has built an international reputation for its research into the origins of the universe.
It is home to our Institute for Computational Cosmology and Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology, and houses 160 researchers from over 20 countries around the world.
Their research is helping to answer questions about the nature of matter and the origins and formation of the universe and galaxies like our Milky Way, while challenging our understanding of the rules of physics.
Cosmic structure to the origins of the Moon
Research highlights include:
Being a key member of the international team behind The Millennium Simulation – the largest and most realistic simulation ever of the growth of cosmic structure and the formation of galaxies and quasars.
Providing the theory and analysis behind a number of experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, in Switzerland, where the Higgs boson was discovered in 2012. The Higgs gives other elementary particles mass and its discovery was seen as a “triumph” for particle physics.
Making realistic galaxies in a supercomputer, based only on the known equations of physics, as a key part of the international EAGLE (Evolution and Assembly of Galaxies and their Environments) Project. The project’s data has been used by astrophysicists around the world to understand the formation of galaxies.
Finding the “Standard Cosmic Ruler” – sound waves that originated a few seconds after the Big Bang that are now being used in space surveys which could help us understand the properties of the dark energy scientists think is behind the accelerating expansion of the universe.
Using supercomputer simulations to learn more about how the Moon might have formed following a huge collision involving the early Earth 4.5 billion years ago.
Highly cited research
Several of the Centre’s cosmologists are among the most highly cited in the world, meaning fellow scientists regularly reference Durham’s research in their own studies.
A celebratory symposium to mark the anniversary featured a keynote lecture from Nobel Prize-winning professor Jim Peebles, Albert Einstein Professor in Science, Emeritus, at Princeton University, USA.
Pupils from Woodham Academy, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, also took part in a day of activities including the launch of a collaborative artwork by digital artist Petra Szemán.
The Woodham pupils represented the 152 North East of England Ogden Trust partnership schools. The Ogden Trust supports physics education and engagement for all young people, particularly those in under-represented groups.