Science Museum Lates exhibition

Yesterday, my colleague Jim Geach and I had the privilege to present our research to the public at the Science Museum in London, as part of their “Lates” themed evenings. This was a particularly special Lates event, as its purpose was to launch the Tomorrow’s World online platform, a collaboration between the Science Museum, the BBC, the Royal Society and the Wellcome Trust. The event attracted nearly 5000 members of the public, many of whom visited our exhibition to see visualisations of numerical models of galaxy evolution, and discuss our science with us. The move we presented is available to view here.

Simulations @ Tate Liverpool

The ARI is currently running The Astrophysics Exchange, an exhibit at Tate Liverpool. Jim Geach and I have contributed renderings of astrophyics simulations to the exhibit, which look great in the gallery’s space. It was a privilege to be in the same exhibition hall as a Picasso! I highly recommend heading over to the gallery if you have the chance, as world famous work by Tracy Emin and William Blake are also currently on display.


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HST cycle 25 theory grant

Delighted that our theory proposal in Hubble Space Telescope cycle-25 has been funded with $125,000. The proposal will enable our team – from LJMU, CU Boulder (US), Leiden Observatory (Netherlands) and Northwestern University (US) – to create and analyse new simulations in support of HST observational programs that probe the circumgalactic medium with quasar sightlines.


Merseyside Astronomy Day

This week it was a pleasure to speak at Merseyside Astronomy Day, sponsored by the ARI’s distance learning programme, and hosted by Liverpool’s World Museum. Nearly 100 members of the public attended to hear from four professional astronomers about their research, and it was a lot of fun to chat to them. There were some very perceptive questions in the Q&A session!

Many thanks to the ARI’s Andy Newsam and David Hyder for their hard work setting up an enjoyable day.

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Thanks to @Spyder_Webb for the photo.

Royal Society symposium

This week Prof Nate Bastian and I, along with Prof. Mark Gieles of the University of Surrey, hosted a Royal Society International Scientific Symposium at Chicheley Hall in Buckinghamshire. The symposium brought together 20 astrophysicists from around the world to discuss how to incorporate models of globular cluster formation and evolution into cosmological simulations, and how observations of globular clusters can be used to inform the study of galaxy evolution. Our thanks to all the attendees, the Royal Society, and the staff at Chicheley Hall for making the symposium a great success.




Today the EAGLE team has been awarded an initial computing time allocation of 30 million core-hours via the PRACE network. This allocation is to conduct the EAGLE-XL simulations, which will extend the EAGLE suite of galaxy formation simulations to larger cosmic volumes, affording us better statistical sampling and enabling examination of rare cosmic structures such as galaxy clusters. The simulations will be conducted using the PizDaint facility in Switzerland, the most powerful supercomputer in Europe.


MDAR paper in PRL

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This week we’ve had a letter accepted for publication the prestigious journal Physical Review Letters. The letter, led by my colleague Aaron Ludlow (Durham), examines the relationship between centripetal acceleration and mass, of galaxies in the EAGLE galaxy formation simulations. The observed relationship, often called the “mass discrepancy – acceleration relation”, or MDAR, has been cited as a challenge to the LambdaCDM cosmogony. We found that galaxies in the simulations, which are built on the LambdaCDM framework, in fact yield the same acceleration-mass profile as real galaxies. This undermines the argument that this particular observable poses a challenge to the prevailing cosmological framework.