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Frontiers in Astronomy: from the beginning of the Universe to the outer reaches of the Solar System



09:30 - 19:00


The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG


One day symposium in partnership with The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

Event details

The Royal Society, in partnership with The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, will be hosting a one day symposium on cosmology and astrophysics. Organised by Professor Øystein Elgarøy (Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Oslo), Professor George Efstathiou FRS (Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge) and Professor Anthony Lasenby (Cavendish Laboratory and Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge), the symposium will bring together the world’s leading experts in this field.

Norway's Crown Prince Haakon will attend.
The symposium will also include the Kavli Prize Laureate lecture by Professor Jane Luu in collaboration with the Kavli Foundation. Professor Jane Luu was awarded the 2012 Kavli Prize and the 2012 Shaw Prize alongside Professor David Jewitt for the discovery and characterisation of objects in the Kuiper Belt, a region beyond Neptune’s orbit.

The Kavli Prize Laureate lecture is open to the public. This event is free to attend and open to all. No tickets are required. Doors open at 5.30pm and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. There will be a live video for this event which can be found on this webpage. Further information can be found here.

Biographies of the speakers are available below and you can also download the programme (PDF).    

Attending this event

This event is intended for researchers in relevant fields and is free to attend. There are a limited number of places and registration is essential.

Enquiries: Contact the events team

Schedule of talks

Session 1

3 talks Show detail Hide detail

Dr Daniel Baumann, University of Cambridge, UK


What is the fundamental origin of all structure in the universe?

In this talk, I will explain how quantum fluctuations during inflation - an epoch of accelerated expansion in the early universe - produce the primordial seeds for structure formation.  I will show how the predictions of inflation compare to recent observations of the cosmic microwave background.  Finally, I will speculate about the physical cause for the inflationary expansion.

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Professor Gianfranco Bertone, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands


Astrophysical and cosmological observations provide compelling evidence that about 85% of all the matter in the Universe is in the form of Dark Matter, an elusive substance which is currently searched for with a
variety of experimental strategies. In my talk, I will argue that we may be about to witness a pivotal paradigm shift in physics, as we set out to test the existence of some of the most promising dark matter candidates with a wide array of experiments, including the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and a new generation of astroparticle experiments underground and in space.

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Professor Graham Ross, University of Oxford, UK


The discovery of a new (Higgs?) particle at the LHC apparently completes the Standard Model of the strong, weak and electromagnetic interactions. This, together with the lack of direct evidence from the LHC for additional physics, has led to a re-evaluation of what might lie beyond the Standard Model. In this talk I will review the cosmological and astroparticle implications of this and of the LHC dark matter searches and its heavy ion  programme.

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Session 2

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Professor George Efstathiou FRS, University of Cambridge, UK


Modern physics attempts to explain the full complexity of the physical world in terms of three principles: gravity, relativity and quantum mechanics.  This raises important fundamental questions such as why is our Universe so large and old?  Why is it almost, but not perfectly, homogeneous and isotropic?  I will describe how recent measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation made with the Planck Satellite can be used to answer these questions and to elucidate what happened within 10-35 seconds of the creation of our Universe.

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Professor Richard Ellis CBE FRS, University College London, UK


Deep exposures with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) have provided the primary evidence that star-forming galaxies were present in the first billion years of cosmic history. Sometime during this early period the intergalactic medium transitioned from a neutral gas to one that is fully ionized. How did this `cosmic reionization' occur and were star-forming galaxies responsible? The polarization of the cosmic microwave background radiation suggests that reionization occurred sometime in the first 800 million years of cosmic history so probing the abundance, luminosity distribution and spectral properties of galaxies during this uncharted period holds the key to progress in addressing these fundamental questions. I will review the remarkable progress recently made with the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes, together with large ground-based telescopes,
in understanding when reionization occurred and the role of early galaxies in the process.

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Session 3

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Professor Ake Nordlund, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

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Professor Didier Queloz, University of Cambridge, UK


Detection and characterization of planetary systems in the Univers is an historic endeavour. The completely unexpected characteristics of the many exoplanets found so far are capturing the interest of the scientific community as well as the general public imagination. After two decades of exoplanet discoveries the origin and nature of exoplanet remains surrounded by a glaze of mystery. Our Solar System seems one of the many solution Nature experiments when making planets.This talk will provide an outlook of main results in exoplanet research programs and prospects in characterization of planet structures and atmospheres.

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Kavli Prize Laureate lecture

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Professor Jane Luu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA


The Kuiper Belt and its implications

A small object named 1992 QB1 was detected far beyond Neptune in 1992, setting up a series of startling revelations about our solar system.  It is a member of the Kuiper Belt, a swarm of icy bodies left over from the formation of the planets.  Based on orbits inside the Kuiper Belt, we have learned that the early solar system was not always the orderly place it now is, and that the configuration of the giant planets was much different from what it is today.  This talk is about the Kuiper Belt and its implications for our solar system (and others).

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Frontiers in Astronomy: from the beginning of the Universe to the outer reaches of the Solar System The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK
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