Cambridge Astronomical Association
Cambridge Young Astronomers


Speaker Meeting

Everything from nothing - how our universe was made
Friday 17th January 2020
Start time : 20:00

Speaker : Carlos Frenk

Cosmology addresses some of the most fundamental questions in science.

How and when did our universe begin? What is it made of?

How did galaxies and other structures form?

There has been enormous progress in the past few decades towards answering these questions.

For example, recent observations have established that our universe contains an unexpected mix of components: ordinary atoms, exotic dark matter and a new form of energy called dark energy. Gigantic surveys of galaxies reveal how the universe is structured. Large supercomputer simulations can recreate the evolution of the universe in astonishing detail and provide the means to relate processes occurring near the beginning with observations of the universe today. A coherent picture of cosmic evolution, going back to a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, is beginning to emerge. However, fundamental issues, like the identity of the dark matter and the nature of the dark energy, remain unresolved.

Carlos Frenk is helping to answer some of the most basic — yet profound — questions about our Universe and its origins. These relate to what it is made of, how matter and energy were organised in the early stages of the Big Bang, and how structure subsequently evolved into the pattern of galaxies that we see today. Using incredibly powerful supercomputers, he builds and runs simulations of the cosmos. The results can then be compared with observations of the real Universe to test theories about its formation, structure and evolution. His techniques are now commonly used within the field of cosmology to explain how the stars and galaxies arose.

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