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.
Up to 85 per cent of the mass of the Universe is thought to consist of dark matter — mysterious matter that barely interacts with electromagnetic radiation such as light. Carlos and collaborators also pioneered the theory of cold dark matter, a now widely accepted model for the formation of larger cosmic objects through the aggregation and merging of smaller, collapsed, objects.