Astrophysics at Cardiff University
The Astrophysics Group at Cardiff University pursues a wide range of topics, such as: exploring the origins of cosmic dust; characterising the supermassive massive black holes that lurk in the centre of galaxies; understanding how stars their planets form; characterising stellar death through supernovae events; and exploring the evolution of our Universe and the origins of life. Our group enjoys close ties with the Astronomy Instrumentation Group, having worked together on the development of the Herschel Space Observatory, and we are currently working on new instruments for satellites and observatories around the world. In addition to making use of observational facilities such as ALMA, IRAM, JWST, we also use computer simulations in our research, and are heavily involved in the development of new numerical techniques.
The gravitational physics group at Cardiff University is involved in all aspects of gravitational wave observation, including detector design and construction; modelling gravitational wave signals, both theoretically and numerically; identifying gravitational wave signals in the data, understanding the properties of individual events and populations; observing electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational wave events. In 2015, we identified a signal from two black holes merging in data from the LIGO detector, and ten further signals have been seen. In August 2017, we observed gravitational waves from a pair of colliding neutron stars, followed by a burst of gamma rays, visible light, X-rays and radio waves. These observations have provided a brand-new way of observing the universe, as gravitational waves carry information complementary to that available from satellites and telescopes.
The Particle Physics and Cosmology Theory (PPCT) group, which is part of the College of Science’s Department of Physics, conducts research in theoretical and computational particle physics and cosmology, with the aim to uncover the most fundamental description of matter and forces at the smallest length scales, including the true nature of gravity, the origin and evolution of the Universe, and the behaviour of the basic building blocks of matter under extreme conditions.
Its main areas of research are quantum fields and strings, lattice field theory, hadron physics, physics beyond the Standard Model and theoretical cosmology.
The PPCT group has enjoyed continuous support from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) since its foundation in 1993, via a Consolidated Grant. Additional support has come from the Royal Society, the Leverhulme Trust, the Wolfson Foundation, EPSRC, and the EU.
Particle Physics is all about understanding the fundamental building blocks of matter and how they interact with each other. To do this, modern particle physicists build large experiments where the results of high-energy collisions between particles are studied.