Cosmology confronts some of the most fundamental questions in the whole of science.
How and when did our universe begin? What is it made of? How did
it acquire its current appearance?
There has been enormous progress in the past few years towards answering these questions.
For example, recent observations have established that our universe contains an unexpected mix of components that include not only ordinary atoms, but also exotic dark matter and a new form of energy called dark energy.
Gigantic surveys of galaxies reveal how the universe is structured. Large supercomputer simulations recreate the evolution of the universe and provide the mean to relate processes occurring near the beginning of the Universe with the structures seen today.
A coherent picture of cosmic evolution, going back to about a micro-second after the Big Bang, is beginning to emerge.
However, fundamental issues, like the nature of the dark energy, remain unresolved. These will require understanding what went on at even earlier times.
Poster: http://www.iop.org/activity/branches/yorkshire_north_east/ne/calendar/files/file_52732.pdf (PDF, 650KB)