Members of the astrophysics group study the evolution of the Universe and the objects in it. We use observations of galaxies, gas, and the primordial plasma, in order to constrain the small number of cosmological parameters describing the Universe, and further to test our fundamental physical theories. We are particularly interested in the application of principled statistical techniques, pioneered by the work of the Imperial Centre for Inference and Cosmology.
Several members of the Astrophysics Group are part of the Space Plasma Climate Section. Relevant research in this group includes studies of the formation and evolution of dusty galaxies, studies of the formation of stars and planets, investigations into the habitability of planets forming around stars of varied types, the study of the Sun and Sun-like stars, quantification of the variability of the Sun for use in climate modelling, and the search for signs of biological activity within our own Solar System.
High Energy Physics
High energy particles
We have been heavily involved in the CMS detector at the LHC and in the discovery of the Higgs since inception.
The Standard Model leaves open significant questions in particle physics and cosmology that may be answered by new physics at TeV masses. Our work through the London Centre for TeraUniverse Studies is directly connected to our experimental activities and focuses on dark matter and new physics at the LHC.
The Tokai-to-Kamioka (T2K) experiment in Japan is the flagship of the global neutrino oscillation programme. In 2013 we published the world’s first high-significance measurement of electron neutrino appearance and muon neutrino disappearance.
String/M-Theory and Quantum Field Theory
The Theoretical Physics Group was founded in 1956 by Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam. The Group's research probes the theoretical laws of nature at the most fundamental level. One important theme is quantum gravity, the attempt to unify Einstein’s theory of General Relativity with quantum theory. A major focus of activity of the Group is centred on String/M-theory and its associated profound connections with both quantum field theory as well as pure mathematics and even condensed matter theory.
The Group also works on other approaches to quantum gravity as well as the foundations of quantum mechanics. Our research in quantum field theory covers a wide range of applications from particle physics and cosmology to effective theories of condensed matter systems and quantum gravity. Interconnected is our cosmology research which aims to discover ways of testing innovative particle physics and quantum gravity theories against hard astrophysical data.