Durham University Number One in Europe for Space Science
(10 November 2008)
Durham University is Number One in Europe for its research into Space Science, according to a new league table.
In the same league table Durham came fourth in the world for Space Science – which includes research into astronomy and astrophysics - in the rankings. The data from the Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators placed Durham above other prestigious institutions including Cambridge University, the California Institute of Technology and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The indicators, published in the Times Higher Education, measured the impact of Durham’s research work over the last ten years up to June 2008. Durham’s ranking was based on citations per research paper – the number of times the University’s work was mentioned by other researchers. Durham’s work in the field of astronomy and astrophysics includes: • Research into Dark Energy – a repulsive force that counteracts gravity in the Universe; • Research into Dark Matter – which makes up the vast majority of all mass but is made up of unknown matter; • The discovery of links between small and super-massive black holes; • Large scale computer simulations charting the evolution of the Universe; Durham’s astronomy group, which includes the Institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC), is one of Europe's largest university research groups in Space/Astrophysics. It is a leading international centre for studies into the origin and evolution of the Universe and models of galaxy structure and formation. The University’s physicists are also based at the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation, at NETPark, in County Durham, where they design and build instruments for some of the world’s largest telescopes. They are also involved in the project developing the James Webb Space Telescope which will succeed the Hubble Telescope. Professor Martin Ward, Head of the Astronomy Group at Durham University, said: “Our research is helping to answer some of the most fundamental questions such as how galaxies form and what the fate of the Universe will be, as well as delving into the mysteries of the properties of exotic things such as black holes. “Durham’s ranking as Europe’s number one institution for Space Science and astrophysics is recognition of the high impact of our research, which is being carried out by individuals and teams of scientists of the highest calibre.” Kim Wong, One North East’s Innovation Specialist Advisor, said: “I am delighted that Durham University is once again attracting international recognition for its work. This accolade emphasises the university’s significant strength, capability and knowledge within this field and really backs up our belief that this region is home to some of the best education facilities in Europe.”