Cosmology confronts some of the most fundamental questions in the whole of science. How and when did our universe begin? What is it made of? How did it acquire its current appearance? These are the questions that will be addressed by Professor Carlos Frenk, one of the world’s most distinguished astrophysicists in the second annual Dundee Christmas Lecture, the endowed lecture between the University of Dundee, Dundee City Council and Mills Observatory founded in 2007 to commemorate the University’s 40th anniversary and its close relationship with the city of Dundee and its people.
Professor Frenk will explain the enormous progress that has been made in the past few years towards answering these questions. For example, recent observations have established that our universe contains an unexpected mix of components that include not only ordinary atoms, but also exotic dark matter and a new form of energy called dark energy. Gigantic surveys of galaxies tell us how the universe is structured. Professor Frenk will demonstrate the large supercomputer simulations which recreated the evolution of the universe and provide the means to relate processes occurring near the beginning of the Universe with the structures seen today. A coherent picture of cosmic evolution, going back to first instants after the Big Bang, is beginning to emerge. However, fundamental mysteries, like the nature of the dark energy, remain unresolved.
Carlos Frenk is the Ogden Professor of Fundamental Physics and Director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology at Durham University. Carlos is one of the originators of the "Cold dark matter" theory for the origin of galaxies and other cosmic structures. He and his research group carry out large cosmological simulations of the Universe using the 'Cosmology Machine', at Durham, one of the largest supercomputers in the UK.
Carlos has written over 200 scientific papers in refereed journals and has edited 2 books. He is one of the top ten most cited authors in the world in the scientific literature on Space Sciences and Astronomy over the past decade. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2004.
Carlos has also played an active role in the dissemination of astronomy and cosmology. He helped set up an outreach programme in Cosmology and Particle Physics at the Ogden Centre in Durham. He has given many public lectures and, in addition to radio interviews, he has appeared on numerous TV programmes, from Sky at Night to Horizon and Newsnight.