Durham UK Cosmo meeting

Durham University, and in particular the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology hosted the annual two-day UK Cosmology meeting this year. There were lots of very interesting talks, and I hope to give a flavour of some of the issues that were mentioned over the course of the meeting.

Durham Cathedral, taken by Ian Huston

The list of participants and the programme outline are on the Durham website, however I do not expect the slides of the talks to be uploaded except perhaps by individual speakers.

Due to it being organised at the last minute and the fact that it took place quite close to the start of the academic term the meeting wasn’t as well attended as others have been, but this allowed for more discussions and for everyone to get to know each other quite well. It also meant that the speakers were allocated 30 minutes each including time for questions, a time scale which is a lot more manageable than the ten minute slots that have previously been used.

The talks and discussions were of a very high quality over the two days, helped by the generous lunch and tea breaks which encouraged the research conversations to continue. The setting was also superb, the Ogden Centre being a very impressive place with a friendly open atmosphere. On Monday evening we were shown what must be one of Durham’s most spectacular outreach efforts, the 3-D film Cosmic Origins, which shows a journey from our solar system, through the Hubble Deep Field, out to the Last Scattering Surface. A 2-D version of the film is embedded below, but for the full experience the 3-D version, glasses and all, needs to be seen. The film was shown at the 2010 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.

The two days of talks were really enjoyable and the unrushed pace of the meeting should be replicated next time if possible. With a one day meeting time constraints are very severe, but I think longer time slots and extra discussion time could still be beneficial. I tweeted a few times during the meeting but penetration of Twitter in to the cosmological field has not reached the levels seen in the Science Online London conference last week.

I would like to thank everyone who helped to organise the meeting and make us feel welcome in Durham. I hope to put together a few overview posts about the work that was presented so they should appear here sometime in the future.



A physicist by training, I am curious about the world around us, from the smallest to the largest scales. I am now a part of the Pivotal Data Science team and work on interesting data science and predictive analytics projects across a wide range of industries. On Twitter I'm @ianhuston, and on Github I'm ihuston.


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