8 November 2010

8½ million kroner for research into the structure of the Universe

The research group Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology has received 8.5 million kroner from the research councils to study the structure of the Universe. Jan Ambjørn and Niels Obers are receiving funding for the project: Quantum gravity and black holes while Pavel Naselsky is getting support for the project: New physics from Planck data on cosmic microwave radiation.

Jan Ambjørn and Niels Obers


A new theory of quantum gravity, i.e. quantum theory for space and time, has made it possible to study very small quantum universes using computer simulations. However, it has not yet been possible to include the formation of black holes into the calculations.

One of the aims of Jan Ambjørn and Niels Obers' research project is to include black holes in the computer calculations using new insights that relate black hole dynamics to hydrodynamics. 

It is furthermore hoped that the research project will lead to an increased understanding of the physics of black holes as well as make it possible for the first time to create realistic computer simulations of the early Universe, in which quantum fluctuations are expected to play an important role.

Pavel Naselsky

Pavel Naselsky has received the grant to study the cosmic microwave background radiation. The cosmic microwave radiation originates all the way back from when the Universe was in its infancy and provides a wealth of information about the evolution of the very early Universe. Research from the earlier WMAP project showed that the microwave radiation is chaotic, but recent studies with the Planck satellite very unexpectedly show order in the distribution. 

"With the Planck satellite we get extremely precise measurements and our project will now test whether the new data really shows the true picture. It will provide us with new knowledge about the properties of space and time", explains Pavel Naselsky.

The two projects have the same objective – to understand the structure of the Universe.

"It is our hope that the computer simulations can be developed to such a degree of perfection that we can calculate the variation of the cosmic microwave background radiation and in that way will be able to relate directly to Pavel Naselsky’s research results", says Jan Ambjørn.

The research funding will mean four new research positions.