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Durham University

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Image Credit: The EAGLE Project/The Virgo Consortium for Cosmological Simulations

Black Holes, Galaxies and the Evolution of the Universe

Tuesday 18 May 2021

08:00 hours (UK) / 15:00 hours (Beijing)


Professor Carlos Frenk CBE FRS, Faculty of Science, Durham University, UK

Professor Martin Ward, Faculty of Science, Durham University, UK

Professor Christine Done, Faculty of Science, Durham University, UK

Dr Chichuan Jin, National Astronomical Observatory of China, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Details of the talk

Cosmology addresses some of the most fundamental questions in science. How did our universe begin? What is it made of? How did galaxies form?

There has been enormous progress towards answering these questions and a coherent picture of cosmic evolution, back to a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, is beginning to emerge.

Black holes play an important role in galaxy evolution, and they are also intriguing objects to study in detail.

Durham’s collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences spans a whole range of scales, from understanding what happens to material very close to a black hole, to the structure of our universe across cosmic time.

About the speakers

Carlos Frenk, Durham University’s Ogden Professor of Fundamental Physics, is a renowned cosmologist and one of the originators of the Cold Dark Matter theory.

As the founder and former Director of Durham’s Institute for Computational Cosmology, Carlos has helped to establish the institute as a world-leader in the study of the universe.

He has been recognised as “Nobel class” for his work on galaxy formation and evolution, cosmic structure, and dark matter halos.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and also holds the Royal Astronomical Society’s highest honour, the Gold Medal for Astronomy, whose previous recipients include Albert Einstein, Charles Babbage and Edwin Hubble. In 2018 he was awarded a Presidential International Fellowship by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Martin J. Ward is the Emeritus Temple Chevallier Professor of Astronomy at Durham University. He is a former Head of the Physics Department and Science Director of the Durham Institute of Advanced Study.

He has been Chair of European Space Agency advisory committees and Vice-President of the Royal Astronomical Society, and is involved with the James Webb Space Telescope.

He has published over 350 refereed scientific articles and popularises space science and astronomy by public lectures and in the media. He has visited China 14 times, for research and student recruitment purposes.

Christine Done is Professor of Astronomy at Durham University. She is Director of Research in the Physics Department, and was awarded the 2019 Darwin lectureship for a ‘distinguished and eloquent speaker’ by the Royal Astronomical Society.

She works on black holes, the darkest objects in the Universe, and how the regions close to them become some of the brightest, as material falls into them.

She has worked for every major space agency and is chair of working groups for several major future astronomical X-ray satellites.

Chichuan Jin is currently a researcher at the National Astronomical Observatories of China, a part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and he is deputy chief designer of the science application system on the Einstein Probe satellite, led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, that will survey cosmic X-ray transients.

After studying for his doctoral degree at Durham University, supervised by Martin Ward and Chris Done, Jin worked as a visiting scholar at the Institute of High Energy Physics, Beijing and as a researcher at the Qianxuesen Laboratory, Chinese Academy of Space Technology, before joining the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics as a postdoc.

He has published about 50 refereed papers on super-massive black holes, interstellar medium and high-energy cosmic transients.