RAS Public Lecture: Where next for cosmology?

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Where next for cosmology?Dr Andrew Pontzen, University College London (Venue: Geological Society Lecture Theatre - no booking required) The last 15 years have been a remarkable time for cosmology; a number of key predictions have been confirmed, ranging from the pattern of fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background to the distribution of galaxies through the universe. But these predictions are based on hypothetical, poorly-understood ingredients such as dark matter, dark energy and the inflation. At present it is unclear whether and when the real physical nature of these components will be clarified. How did we reach this point, and where is the best place to focus research efforts when the next breakthrough could equally well arrive tomorrow — or in 50 years' time? Andrew Pontzen guides us through some of these profound challenges, along the way discussing some of his group's recent work on galaxies and on the large scale structure of the universe. Dr Andrew Pontzen is a Royal Society University Research Fellow in theoretical cosmology at University College London. His research, which won the 2016 Royal Astronomical Society's Fowler Award for early-career achievement, spans the early universe to the present day. It pieces together how our modern cosmos was built from ingredients like dark matter. He has written for New Scientist and is a regular guest on BBC shows such as Radio 4's Curious Cases, Inside Science, More Or Less, Infinite Monkey Cage, as well as BBC2's Stargazing Live and BBC4's Sky at Night.