Scientific Strategy

The CTC exists to advance the scientific understanding of our Universe:

Taking forward the vision of its founder Stephen Hawking, CTC has developed an exciting programme of research for the period 2015-20, further details of which can be found on our research page. The next few years will see the release of much new groundbreaking data in cosmology and general relativity, advancing the confrontation with inflation and other early universe theories. CTC researchers have already played an integral part in studying the Planck satellite results, and we will continue to develop programmes and topical workshops on forthcoming projects such as the detection of gravitational waves from black hole and neutron star collisions and large-scale surveys to map the positions of millions of galaxies out to great distances.

At Stephen Hawking's 70th birthday celebrations in 2012, we were very pleased to announce a $6M endowment to create the Stephen W. Hawking Chair in Cosmology. This was finalised in 2014. It will allow CTC to attract and retain cosmologists of the highest international standing, providing leadership in research and teaching. Our ultimate vision is to expand the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology into a larger, permanent institute for advanced theoretical research, the Stephen Hawking Institute for Fundamental Physics.

Complementing the major benefaction of the Hawking Chair, there are several important avenues through which we aim to build up CTC research.

COSMOS, the UK's national cosmology supercomputer, housed in DAMTP.

COSMOS, the UK's national cosmology supercomputer, housed in DAMTP

We will develop CTC programmes with topical workshops on cutting edge research. Workshops and conferences allow the greatest minds in cosmology to come together to advance the field through the interchange of ideas, while also inspiring young researchers. Futher details of previous and upcoming CTC workshops can be found on our activities page.

We will invite Distinguished Visiting Professorships to help lead our programmes. These scientists will be chosen because of their international reputation in new and emerging fields of cosmology and gravitation. Their input will ensure that the outreach work remains informed by the most recent cosmology research from around the world.

We will encourage excellence in a future generation of cosmologists through Advanced Research and Post-Doctoral Fellowships. Appointing the brightest young researchers will ensure a dynamic research core at CTC and we especially value longer-term five-year appointments. We have an outstanding record of attracting high-calibre candidates who can fulfil import roles not fully covered by faculty members.

We will support innovation in numerical cosmology and relativity through the COSMOS supercomputer, a world-leading national facility hosted by CTC. In 2014 we were awarded the status of Intel Parallel Computing Centre, in recognition of our leadership in high performance computing, and supporting this work through direct links to Intel programming and engineering teams and early access to many-core technologies (Xeon Phi). To foster exploitation of these resources and to expand our existing expertise, we aim to support post-doctoral researchers and programmers in computational cosmology and relativity.

We aim to simultaneously communicate our advances to the wider public and inspire the next generation of young scientists. Cosmology is an area of huge public fascination. We are privileged to have Stephen Hawking as exemplar, combining scientific excellence with the ability to reach a huge audience, demonstrated at events such as the London Paralympic Opening Ceremony. John Barrow also stands high above his peers in being able to communicate to the wider public about science and mathematics through his many popular books and lectures. Both Professor Hawking and Professor Barrow, as well as other members of staff, will take part in outreach programmes, inspiring scientific curiosity in people all around the world and maybe even helping to find the next Stephen Hawking.