University Of Cambridge-Physics

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University Of Cambridge-Physics

Department: Physics (Cavendish Laboratory)
Group: Astrophysics
Courses and degrees offered: Ph.D. (3 years); M.Phil. (1 year) research projects are also available but not in practice for UK graduates
Studentships available: PPARC, EPSRC, Cambridge Colleges, Isaac Newton
Average intake per year: 12

Our research spans many areas of fundamental astrophysics and cosmology. These include star formation in interstellar clouds, physical processes in radio galaxies and quasars, observational cosmology (especially high redshift galaxies, galaxy clusters, and structures in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation), and optical interferometry for galactic astrophysics. The Astrophysics Group has about 40 academic staff and post-doctoral research workers, 40 research students, and 20 technical and computing staff.

Some Ph.D. projects involve the development of new techniques and instruments, some are mostly theoretical, including applications of geometric algebra to cosmology and black hole physics, but the majority combine observation, interpretation and modelling. Projects may involve radio, mm, infrared, optical or X-ray astronomy or a combination; most research students make at least one observing trip abroad.

One of our great strengths is that we have our own world-class synthetic aperture telescopes. The Ryle Telescope is a high resolution cm-wave instrument for mapping very low brightness structures such as CMB imprints from galaxy clusters. The Very Small Array is in full operation and allows unparalleled study of the CMB and direct investigation of the origin of the large-scale structure of the universe. A new telescope for higher resolution CMB mapping, the Arcminute Microkelvin Imager, is under construction. The Cambridge Optical Aperture Synthesis Telescope provides unique milliarcsecond resolution images of galactic systems at optical and infrared wavelengths. In addition we develop instrumentation for submillimetre-wave astronomy, including superconducting THz detectors, and we make considerable use of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Hawaii. We have extensive computing facilities for data reduction and for numerical modelling of complex systems such as interacting galaxies and growing structures in the young universe. For further information please contact or write to

The Secretary (Admissions), Astrophysics Group, Cavendish Laboratory, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HE or visit our website at

This page updated 29th November 2001


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