Support of the Astronomical Research of the Cavendish Astrophysics Group

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

The Cavendish Astrophysics (CA) group has a strong emphasis on experimental and observational astrophysics, backed by fundamental theoretical work and substantial expertise in data analysis. This consolidated grant application focuses on scientific exploitation, particularly of those instruments and facilities in which we have played a major role in their development. We also propose an exciting new blue-skies instrumentation programme.

Our scientific programme in this consolidated grant application is built around the following four areas:

(1) Star formation and evolution in our own and nearby galaxies, exploiting ground-breaking new facilities in ALMA and SCUBA-2, and developments in visible and near-infrared interferometry. Our research will cover multiple spatial scales, from AU scales characterising the processes and products of star formation, through parsec scales investigating clouds and filaments where star formation occurs, to the largest scales of star formation in nearby galaxies.

(2) The development of a test-bed for a new generation of near-infrared array detectors that promise both read-noise and read-rate improvements of factors of 5-10 over existing devices. This will allow us to test the characteristics of these arrays that are critical to their performance in interferometric applications, and place us in an unrivalled position to propose new high-sensitivity instrumentation based on these arrays for ELTs and long-baseline infrared interferometers.

(3) An ambitious and timely programme of experimental cosmology that will address themes of structure formation, the evolution of baryonic gas during galaxy assembly, the tensor-to-scalar ratio during inflation, and the interplay of magnetic field and gas in the intra-cluster medium. We are superbly placed to exploit data from ALMA, AMI, EVLA, Planck and SKA pathfinders to achieve our science aims in these areas. This will capitalise on our expertise in radio and CMB observations, theoretical modelling and data analysis; in addition we have collaborations in place which will give us access to complementary data sets in other wavebands.

(4) Modelling the generation, propagation and detection of gravitational waves (GW) through the proper general-relativistic description of the energy and momentum carried by GW, and the development and application to real data of Bayesian methods for detecting GW signatures in laser-interferometer experiments such as LIGO and LISA.

Planned Impact

The beneficiaries of this research will be broad and fall into several distinct categories.

1. Beneficiaries of the direct output of the astronomical research
All of the results of the astronomical research programme will be published in the scientific literature. Beyond the immediate impact of the dissemination of knowledge to the professional community, the output of this research will have wider impact. Many of the expected results have implications for fundamental questions such as the origin of galaxies, stars and planets, and the origin of the Universe itself. These are questions which are of significant interest to the wide public evidenced by the enthusiastic popular response to TV programmes which address these specific aspects. We will work to ensure the output of the research reaches the widest possible audience by: (1) dissemination via press releases and continued engagement with the media; (2) continuing our outreach work at our Lords Bridge observatory and through the many initiatives of the Department of Physics and with the Institute of Astronomy; (3) Supporting the requests from the media to input to and comment on science issues in for which we have expertise.

2. Training
Astronomy plays a key role in attracting undergraduate students into the physical sciences, although only a small fraction continue to specialise in astronomy. Building the skill base of numerate physical science graduates is an important output to the economy. The outputs of this research will continue to support this work. Research students will be trained as a direct result of this research programme: averaged over the past ten years we find that approximately 50% of our Ph.D. students take a first job in industry making direct use of the analytical and numerical skills acquired as a consequence of the research programme.

3. Beneficiaries of the technology developed
Within this programme there will be technologies developed which we expect to have wider interest to industry. The strong underlying these of development of sophisticated, robust data analysis techniques and fast numerical methods will have wide applicability. We have an excellent track record of spinning out technologies of this type as independent startups. Examples include Geomerics Ltd, now part owned by nVidia, specialising in high-performance rendering engines for computer games; Metropolis data consultants providing direct data analysis techniques to industry (Customers include GlaxoSmithKline, Unilever, Broadcom, Illumina, and Daresbury Laboratory), and Cambridge Positioning Systems Ltd. (now acquired by CSR) providing software navigation solutions for the mobile phone market. The eAPD development programme we hope will be done in conjunction with SELEX-GALILEO with whom we have an existing interaction via the SKA programme.

The SKA programme has major interest from UK industry and the technologies being developed will have direct impact on the ICT industry. Our technical development work in the SKA area is supported by other STFC awards. Here our programme includes astronomical developments of the science case driving the extreme technical requirements of the SKA and therefore provides the underpinning for the technology development we are doing in this area.

Publications


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Ade, PAR (2007) Tests of finline-coupled TES bolometers for ClOVER in 2007 JOINT 32ND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON INFRARED AND MILLIMETER WAVES AND 15TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON TERAHERTZ ELECTRONICS, VOLS 1 AND 2

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ALBINSON JS (1986) NEUTRAL HYDROGEN TOWARDS 3C10, THE REMNANT OF TYCHO SUPERNOVA in MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY


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Alexander P (2006) Models of young powerful radio sources in MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY

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Alexander P. (2005) Mid-IR properties of young radio-selected AGN in ESA Special Publication

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AMI Consortium (2012) Arcminute Microkelvin Imager observations of unmatched Planck ERCSC LFI sources at 15.75 GHz? in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters

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AMI Consortium (2009) An excess of emission in the dark cloud LDN 1111 with the Arcminute Microkelvin Imager in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters

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AMI Consortium (2012) Arcminute Microkelvin Imager observations of unmatched Planck ERCSC LFI sources at 15.75 GHz? in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters



 
Description This grant supported the astrophysics research of the Astrophysics Group at the Cavendish Laboratory. As a result of the award a wide variety of astrophysical results were obtained which have been published in a series of papers. In addition to the impact on the astrophysics a number of technical results have wider impact. Most notably these include the development of advanced Bayesian Inference technologies which have wide applicability including in the financial services industry. The software has been made publicly available.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Other
Impact Types Societal,Economic
 
Title Geometric (Clifford) Algebras 
Description Coming out of my work on Geometric (Clifford) Algebras, a technology start-up was created in Cambridge, called Geomerics. This specialises in application of novel mathematical and computational techniques in the field of computer graphics, and currently employs around 14 people. It was founded in 2006. Some specific outputs are a new method for carrying out 'lighting' in computer games, including several popular titles. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact None 
 
Description 4MOST Phase A design study 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Department Institute of Astronomy
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Mechanical design Proposal document preparation
Collaborator Contribution Leadership of activity Allocation of funds to my team Optical and software design
Impact Phase A design presentation at ESO Elements of the mechanical design work undertaken by our team were integrated into the actual programme: this is continuing but STFC declined to support future UK participation in this mechanical work (as the competing MOONS project was deemed a higher priority). Our successes in the 4MOST design work led to our successful bid to undertake the camera design work for the MOONS spectrograph.
Start Year 2012
 
Description EMU 
Organisation Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
Country Australia, Commonwealth of 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution EMU is a proposed radio sky survey project, designed to use the new ASKAP telescope to make a deep (~10µJy rms) radio survey covering the entire Southern Sky (perhaps as far North as 30°. It can be characterised as a "Southern NVSS", except that it will have about 40 times the sensitivity of the NVSS. As a result, it will be able to probe typical star forming galaxies up to a redshift of 1 (i.e. looking back in time to about half the age of the Universe) and the most extreme starbursts to even greater redshifts. Quasars and galaxies hosting massive black holes will be seen right out near the edge of the observable Universe, where the first massive black holes were born. Perhaps even more importantly, EMU will almost certainly uncover new classes of object.
Collaborator Contribution The project was one of 39 competing to use ASKAP. Expressions of Interest were solicited in November 2008, and selected proposals (including EMU) invited to submit a full proposal by 15 June 2009. EMU was ranked equal top (with WALLABY) of the projects, and so has been invited to play a significant role in ensuring that ASKAP is built and operated to maximise the science return. Potential participants are invited to join the team, and will then have the opportunity to participate in designing the parameters and processes of the survey, and the commissioning and quality control.
Impact All radio data from the survey will be placed in the public domain as soon the data quality has been checked. An integral part of the proposed project will be to identify sources with other wavelengths, and produce public-domain VO-accessible catalogs of these and other "added-value" data products.
Start Year 2008
 
Description LOFAR-UK 
Organisation Royal Observatory Edinburgh
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The LOw Frequency ARray, LOFAR,is a radio telescope working at the lowest frequencies accessible from Earth. Combining many thousands of simple dipole receivers (just like the one in your radio at home) with the latest in high tech computing, LOFAR will be able to survey wide areas of the sky all at once and will open up a new window for astronomers. When completed, LOFAR will consist of over 5,000 separate antennas spread in "stations" all over Europe. The main project is based in the Netherlands, and most of the array will be there, but outposts are planned in Germany, France, Sweden, Poland and the UK. Several stations are now working, and the array was officially opened in June 2010.
Collaborator Contribution As above
Impact As above
Start Year 2007
 
Description LOFAR-UK 
Organisation University of Southampton
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The LOw Frequency ARray, LOFAR,is a radio telescope working at the lowest frequencies accessible from Earth. Combining many thousands of simple dipole receivers (just like the one in your radio at home) with the latest in high tech computing, LOFAR will be able to survey wide areas of the sky all at once and will open up a new window for astronomers. When completed, LOFAR will consist of over 5,000 separate antennas spread in "stations" all over Europe. The main project is based in the Netherlands, and most of the array will be there, but outposts are planned in Germany, France, Sweden, Poland and the UK. Several stations are now working, and the array was officially opened in June 2010.
Collaborator Contribution As above
Impact As above
Start Year 2007
 
Description NMT System Architects 04/2012-03/2016 
Organisation New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Department Physics Department
Country United States of America 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Overall design and technical leadership of deployment team. Joint authorship of papers Experimental investigations Hosting NMT staff for visits
Collaborator Contribution Joint authorship of papers Delivery, installation of hardware Experimental investigations Hosting team staff in New Mexico
Impact Academic research Co-authorship of publications Construction of equipment Engineering/technical/scientific leadership Student/post-doc training of US collaborators Research funding
Start Year 2006
 
Description ALMA Royal Society Summer Exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Exhibition show for a 5 day long exhibition at the Royal Society. The exhibition is in London but school groups and members of the public from across the country attended.

We produced some videos explaining about ALMA and life as astronomers, which we posted online. We presented ALMA interactively to an audience of 12000 members of the public over a 7 days period.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Alumni talks 2009/2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Typically 60 non-scientific & scientific attendees with families. Questions afterwards and meet and greet sessions.

Philanthropic funding to teaching institute
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2013
 
Description BBC Radio 4 Material World 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Live science show with Quentin Cooper, invited to discuss science with ALMA

Raised research awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description BBC Sky at Night 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact 2012 - Invited to discuss infrared astronomy and ALMA
2006 - Invited to discuss science with the HARP spectrometer on the JCMT.

Raised research awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2012
 
Description BBC World Service Interview on ALMA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact World Service interview on ALMA

Raised research awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description CUAS Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Popular talk with questions and answer session at end. Talk to local undergraduate Astronomical Society.

Raised profile of astronomical research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Cambridge Science Festival Open Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Cambridge Science Festival Open Day 2013: presented ALMA display to several hundred members of the general public

Raised research awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description French World Service Interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact French World Service interview on ALMA

Raised research awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Herschel and Planck Exhibit (London 2009) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 10,000 visitors to the exhibition had the opportunity to talk to scientists involved with Herschel and Planck about their work

Raised research awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Institute of Astronomy Public Talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Two public talks at the Institute of Astronomy open evenings: audience of about 150-200 members of the public.

Raised research awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2011
 
Description Kavli Lecture of the American Astronomical Society 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Kavli Lecture of the American Astronomical Society. Elected an Honorary Member of the American Astronomical Society.

Elected an Honorary Member of the American Astronomical Society.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Media Tour of ESO Chilean Observatories 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Media tour of ESO Chilean observatories with UK Science Journalists: A staff member accompanied a large group of UK mainstream science journalists to the Paranal and ALMA Observatories in Chile to act as scientific guide in 2007.

Resulted in a large number of broadsheet and tabloid press articles.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007
 
Description Naked Scientists Podcast 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Discussion on science with submm astronomy

Raised research awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Newspaper and Magazine Interviews 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Numerous interviews with major newspapers and magazines relating to ALMA science and press releases

Raised research awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007,2008,2009,2010,2011
 
Description Night School Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Seminar with questions and answer session at end

Raised profile of astronomical research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007
 
Description Papworth Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Talk to local village Astronomical Society. Popular talk with questions and answer session at end.

Raised profile of astronomical research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Physics Centre Talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Popular talk with questions and answer session at end for 300 students each time.

Raised profile of astronomical research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2012
 
Description Physics at Work 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Talks on current astrophysical research to attendees at "Physics at Work" Exhibition. Part of Department's Physics at Work outreach programme. Talks with question and answers afterwards to groups of about 15.

Raised profile of Physics at Work
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2006,2007,2008,
 
Description Planck Display 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Answered many questions from visitors about Planck, which had been in the national and international news 2 days earlier.

Raised research awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Radio interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Listeners to the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Drivetime programme

Raised research awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Sutton Trust Summer Schools 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Tour of Observatory, with informal talks, and questions and answer sessions, for about 20 sixth form students each year. Lecture on current astronomical research related to the Cosmic Microwave Background to Sutton Trust Summer School students.

Raised profile of astronomical research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2006,2007,2008,
 
Description Television appearance for SKA and ALMA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Appearance by Alexander and Cambridge SKA team on a regionally commissioned TV short feature on research at Cambridge and featuring the SKA and ALMA.

National TV reach explaining research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Tours of Observatory 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The astrophysics group provides regular tours of the observatory for schools and other interested groups by appointment. Tours are operated by a senior member of staff and one or more graduate students acting as guides.

Impact on visitors explaining our research
Impact on schools encouragement to participate in science
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2006,2007,2008,