Event Details

Ancient light: the microwave background radiation and cosmology

  • 2018-01-22
  • Professor Mark Birkinshaw

The discovery of the microwave background radiation in the 1960s provided cosmology and astrophysics with an exceptionally powerful tool for investigating the history of the Universe and the nature of massive objects within it. This lecture will tell the story of the microwave background radiation, from the original idea in the 1940s up to the most recent measurements from satellites in orbit and telescopes in Antarctica, and show what we have learned from the increasing degree of precision with which we can study the radiation.

Prof. Mark Birkinshaw was educated at the Portsmouth Grammar School, and the University of Cambridge, where he gained his PhD in 1979, working in the Cavendish Laboratory's Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory. He won a Miller Research Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked for two years before returning to Cambridge as a Research Fellow of Gonville and Caius College. He then went to Harvard University as a professor in the Department of Astronomy, and then to the Smithsonian Institution's Astrophysical Observatory where he worked on the Chandra satellite for NASA. He was appointed as the first William P. Coldrick Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Bristol in 1995, and leads the university's Astrophysics Group. He is well-known for his work on structures in the microwave background radiation created by clusters of galaxies, on relativistic effects that distort the appearances of distant objects, and on the interactions between outflows from active galaxies and the diffuse gas around them. He has published more than 400 papers.

This talk is part of showcasing UK science and research to young audience in India and facilitating collaboration between Indian and UK higher education institutes and is being organized by British Council India.