Dr Angela Taylor
Royal Society Research Professor
Department of Genetics, University of Leicester
Human molecular genetics
“My research focuses on designing, building and using telescopes to make observations of the electromagnetic relic radiation from the Big Bang, known as the cosmic microwave background (CMB).
The Big Bang model is currently our best theory for the origin and evolution of our universe. The theory asserts that the universe was created when a tiny, super-dense, super-hot mass exploded and began expanding very rapidly, eventually cooling and forming into the stars and galaxies with which we are familiar.
The CMB that scientists can detect is a ‘relic’ of the Big Bang process. It is not completely even across the universe however; there are minute variations in its temperature. These fluctuations are due to tiny variations in the density of the very early universe, which have since collapsed under gravity to form the galaxies and stars that we see today.
By measuring the properties of these small temperature variations in the CMB, scientists can gain a wealth of information about both the past and the future of our universe. In particular, CMB can be used to measure the amount and types of matter and energy that the universe contains, how old and how big it is, and what its future might be. This is no easy task however: the fluctuations in the CMB are minute, and so I am working to create specialised telescopes at the forefront of modern technology in order to measure them.”
Read more about Dr Angela Taylor's work at the University of Oxford.