Scientists to explore unknown parts of the Universe with new funding

Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Scientists from the University of Nottingham have been awarded £800,000 to research the nature of the early and late Universe. 

The funding is part of £20 million awarded to the UK theoretical physics community by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to expand and test theories of how the Universe works.

UK theoretical particle physicists have a long history of global leadership, including Nobel Prize winners, and continue to lead the world in areas such as dark matter theory.

Grants have been awarded to 25 institutions covering key theme areas in theoretical physics and the University of Nottingham will investigate the Cosmology theme. This is the theory we use to try to describe the earliest moments of the Universe and how the Universe evolved.

The funding will bring together researchers from the School’s of Physics and Astronomy and Mathematical Sciences. One of the areas they will work on is understanding how primordial black holes and axions formed in the early universe could provide the dark matter. They will investigate the nature of Inflation and where it fits into fundamental theories like string theory. Inflation is a period of rapid expansion in the early Universe which produced the small density fluctuations from which all the observed matter in the Universe developed.

We are very fortunate to receive funding from STFC to investigate some of the most pressing problems facing cosmology and gravity: how did the universe begin, what is the nature of dark matter and dark energy, and was Einstein right or are there modifications to his General Theory of Relativity, in a similar spirit to how Einstein's theory modifies Newton's Laws of Gravity.
Professor Ed Copeland, research lead at the University of Nottingham

Head of Particle Physics Programme in STFC, Karen Clifford, said: “Theorists are crucial to the UK’s entire science base, not just to our understanding of the Universe. They play a vital role in the promotion of science, helping to inspire the next generation of researchers.

“Theoretical physicist also play a crucial role in teaching in maths and physics departments with their breadth of knowledge and ability to clearly explain complex subjects.

“With this funding, we hope to continue the UK’s global leadership in this area.”

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Ed Copeland on 

Jane Icke - Media Relations Manager Science
Phone: 0115 7486462

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

More news…

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
YANG Fujia Building
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798