[IMAGE: The EAGLE Project/The Virgo Consortium for Cosmological Simulations]

The partnership between the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Durham University in the UK is going from strength-to-strength, as the two organizations launch their latest webinar in a joint series.

From supermassive black holes to the hunt for dark matter, scientists at Durham and CAS are at the forefront of investigations into the evolution of the universe to further our understanding of the cosmos and our place in it.

This research forms the basis of the latest webinar, called “Black Holes, Galaxies and the Evolution of the Universe,” which was held on May 18.

Durham’s collaboration with CAS covers a wide range of disciplines, including astronomy, cosmology, paleontology and energy.

Within the areas of astronomy and cosmology, the universities’ research spans from understanding what happens to material very close to a black hole, to the structure of our universe across cosmic time.

The webinar was delivered by Professor Carlos Frenk, Professor Martin Ward and Professor Chris Done from Durham University, together with Dr. Jin Chichuan, from CAS’s National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC).

The webinar also included brief speeches from CAS’s vice-president, Professor Zhang Yaping, and Durham’s vice-chancellor, Professor Stuart Corbridge, and a Q&A session chaired by Durham’s deputy executive dean (Faculty of Science), Professor Wu Junjie.

“CAS is the largest research organization in China comprising more than 100 institutes as well as three universities. We attach great importance to international cooperation and we have a long-term partnership with Durham University across a wide range of research fields,” said Professor Zhang. “This webinar series is a great example of how we are working together to stimulate new thinking and encourage further collaborations.”

The series brings together researchers who are outstanding in their fields of expertise to open up new perspectives across cultures, deepen collaboration and share fresh insights. Previous webinars have featured talks about paleontology and interdisciplinary research.

“We are really proud of our long-standing partnership with the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Both of our organizations are conducting world-changing research by pushing and exploring boundaries and addressing some of the most pressing issues in society today,” said Professor Corbridge.

“It is therefore very fitting to have this joint webinar series, as we share common ground. We are both committed to interdisciplinary research that can improve the world and change lives.”

This latest webinar looked at research into the on-going heartbeat of a supermassive black hole found 600 million light years from Earth.

The repeated beat from this cosmic giant is created as the black hole feeds on its surroundings. It was seen again in 2018 — more than 10 years after first being observed. It’s the longest-surviving heartbeat ever observed in a black hole and tells us more about the size and structure close to its event horizon — the space surrounding the black hole from which nothing, including light, can escape.

Alongside this, the webinar explored the work of cosmologists who use supercomputer technology to simulate the universe’s evolution. Recently, they’ve used these simulations to zoom in on the smallest clumps of dark matter in a virtual universe. The equivalent to being able to see a flea on the surface of the Moon, this detailed research could help us find the real thing in space.

Source: Durham University

Hot Issue
Research Progress
International Cooperation
Science Story
News in Brief