Astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology and particle physics

Our research focuses on problems in astrophysics and cosmology. We contribute to several major international collaborations currently happening in the field.

Student demonstration of space

Some of the projects we are attached to include the Microlensing in Astrophysics (MOA) survey, the Wide-Field Infra-Red Space Telescope (WFIRST), the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector at the Centre for European Nuclear and Particle Physics Research (CERN).

The University is home to the state-of-the-art BPASS stellar population synthesis code, which is used by astrophysicists in many countries.

We develop new ways of employing space-based observations to gather data about the Universe. Our platforms range from locally developed microsatellites to NASA and ESA missions.

Research topics

Origin and evolution of the Universe

Our research covers the evolution of the early Universe, particularly the "primordial dark ages" between the end of inflation and the nucleosynthesis era. 

Cosmological models and theories of particle physics 

This topic considers the interaction between cosmological models and the theories of particle physics that give rise to them.

It looks at the nature of dark matter and other phenomena outside the "standard model" of particle physics. 

The search for planets

Research in this area focuses on optimising the detection of extra-solar planets using gravitational microlensing.  

We are also investigating how we can use machine learning to perform the intense numerical calculations necessary for modelling planetary microlensing events.

The evolution of stars

We research the evolution of stars and their place in the overall development of the visible Universe.

This work has led us to explore the progenitors of supernova explosions and gravitational wave signals.

Related research organisations

Our researchers

Professor Richard Easther

  • The physics of the very early Universe
  • Inflationary cosmology
  • Cosmological implications of string theory
  • Multiverse and eternal inflation
  • Astrophysical tests of models of the early Universe
  • Dark matter and cosmological observables

Dr JJ Eldridge

  • Astrophysics
  • Stellar evolution of single and binary stars
  • Supernovae
  • Gamma-ray bursts
  • Stellar population and spectral synthesis
  • High-redshift galaxies
  • Stellar origin gravitational-wave transients

Dr David Krofcheck

  • Experimental high energy nuclear physics
  • Environmental radiation

Dr Nicholas Rattenbury

  • Discovery of extra-solar planets 
  • Gravitational microlensing
  • Time-domain astrophysics
  • Galactic structure