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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Welcome to the

Transforming The Way We Think


The Institute of Advanced Study is a prestigious, ideas-based Institute with global reach. We bring together world-leading researchers from all disciplines to work with Durham colleagues on collaborative projects of major intellectual, scientific, political and practical significance. At least twenty visiting IAS Fellows join us in Durham each year to work with Durham scholars to spark new investigations, set tomorrow's agenda and participate in a varied programme of activities.

Each year, the IAS supports four ambitious interdisciplinary projects tackling major research questions. Leading researchers from around the globe join Durham colleagues in collaborative teams to develop ground-breaking ideas, explore interdisciplinary synergies and develop new programmes of research.

The Institute also serves as a top-level forum, enabling key-decision makers and experts to discuss pressing policy problems in an intellectually stimulating and unrestricted manner. We put on a wide range of public lectures and other events. There are also opportunities for postgraduates and other early career researchers to get involved.

The IAS aims to build research capacity, realise potential, and meet the challenges of a changing world. There are many ways to participate in the life and work of the institute. We warmly welcome your involvement.


IAS Public Lecture - Extreme States of Matter: From Big Bang to the Lab

28th October 2020, 17:30 to 18:30, Virtual - via Zoom, Dr Dimitrios Giataganas, University of Athens

Public Lecture by Dr Dimitrios Giataganas, University of Athens.

States of strongly interacting matter at extremely high temperatures of five trillion degrees Celsius and high density existed in the very early stages of the evolution of the universe. This quantum state of matter is created today for a fraction of the second at the large hadron collider lab by densely colliding ultra-relativistic particles to heat up and melt the ordinary matter we experience in our everyday life. In these exotic conditions we can probe the properties of nature at its finest, where the origin of many fundamental puzzles lies. Despite our tremendous efforts, their theoretical understanding remains challenging. An exciting approach in this direction is the so-called gauge/gravity duality, a systematic way to map quantum physics that are difficult to model theoretically, to an equivalent artificial gravity theory which is theoretically tractable. Interestingly, using the duality to understand the creation, the evolution and the properties of the extreme states of matter, surprising and unexpected additional puzzles arise, such as: Does nature set bounds on how perfect a fluid can be? and, What is the most perfect fluid? In this talk we will discuss the current status of the on-going research on such exotic physics.

This lecture is free and open to all.


Details about Dr Dimitrios Giataganas

The Lecture will take place on Zoom. To register please click here.

Contact enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.



IAS Contribution to the evaluation of interdisciplinary research in the REF

For a number of years the IAS has been closely involved in the development of methods of evaluating interdisciplinary research, working collaboratively with UK funding bodies/the REF. Its Executive Director, Professor Veronica Strang, is a member of the UKRI Interdisciplinary Advisory Panel, which is guiding this aspect of the REF process, and a regular speaker at the Annual REF Forum and related events. Her report Evaluating Interdisciplinary Research: a practical guide (Strang and McLeish 2015), written in consultation with a range of funding bodies, has been taken up widely, nationally and internationally. With the REF submission date coming up soon, colleagues who are considering interdisciplinary outputs for submission, or who will be involved in evaluating such research for REF sub-panels, may find this publication helpful.