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From the search for exoplanets and the origins of life in the Universe, through the study of extreme phenomena involving the physics of black holes to the earliest phases of the Big Bang, astrophysics and cosmology have never had a more exciting agenda. The future programme in Astrophysics and Cosmology encompasses some of the most challenging areas of experimental and theoretical astrophysics, building on the strengths of the Laboratory in these areas. We are playing a leading role in the Square Kilometre Array programme with a particular emphasis on the challenge of processing the vast stream of data that it will produce. We are designing and building optical-infrared instruments for the next generation of large telescope facilities, including the VLT, E-ELT and the MRO optical interferometer. Theoretical studies in gravitation support the burgeoning field of gravitational wave astrophysics and cosmic microwave background cosmology.

Research areas:

  • Extra-solar planetary research
  • Galaxy evolution
  • Radio cosmology
  • Gravitational physics