We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Higgs to Hubble

Big Questions

How and when did our universe begin? What made it look like this? How will it end? These are all questions that have preoccupied mankind since the beginning of civilisation. The last few years have witnessed considerable progress in our understanding of what makes our universe tick. Recent results from ground and space based telescopes and particle accelerators have revolutionised our view of the cosmos. For the first time in human history we are getting close to answering the question: “How did the universe evolve into the beautiful place we see today?

This project, originally funded by STFC, provides a public outreach programme in particle physics and astronomy in the North of England. The programme builds upon the work of the Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics at Durham, which is made up of the Institutes for Particle Physics Phenomenology (IPPP) and Computational Cosmology (ICC).


The ICC houses one of the most powerful supercomputers for academic research in Britain and one of the largest in Europe. This computer allows the cosmologists to recreate the evolution of the Universe from soon after its very beginnings in the Big Bang, and explore how the dark matter will affect its fate. The ICC also has its own vigorous outreach programme.


The IPPP fosters world-class research in particle physics phenomenology, the bridge between theory and experiment in the study of the building blocks of matter in the Universe - the fundamental particles - and how they interact through the fundamental forces between them. Phenomenologists play the dual role of revealing aspects of theory that can be tested by experiment, while at the same time helping their experimental colleagues to see the implications of their measurements in the search for new fundamental laws. The work of the IPPP enables the UK to maximise the benefit from existing investment in major experimental laboratories around the world.