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Fundamentals of the Universe

The aim of this research theme is to study the fundamental forces of Nature with implications for the Universe. This theme connects research across all length scales by using the striking similarities in physics from the Planck scale (quantum gravity) via sub-atomic scales (particle physics) to cosmic dimensions (cosmology and astrophysics). Pivotal to our approach is the use and development of advanced instrumentation and mathematics, because they are the essential tools we have to probe and describe Nature.

Our institutes join forces to play a leading role in this exciting topic as a united research activity and to educate a new generation of students to perform research in this new interdisciplinary field.

Fundamentals of the Universe
Fundamentals of the Universe
Martine Schut
Martine Schut

Martine Schut

PhD student at the van Swinderen Institute for Gravity and Particle Physics and the Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence

Supervisors: Roland van der Veen and Anupam Mazumdar

My research interests are in field theories, gravity and quantum systems. My main focus is on infrared quantum gravity, entanglement and decoherence. The goal of my research is to study large quantum systems that are entangled via gravity using mathematical techniques. At the moment I'm studying soft graviton emissions during potential scattering and I'm investigating the entropy of large entangled systems in different configurations, which are entangled via their mutual gravitational interaction.

Kevin van Helden
Kevin van Helden

Kevin van Helden

PhD Student at the Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence and the Van Swinderen Institute for Gravity and Particle Physics

Supervisors: Eric A Bergshoeff and Roland van der Veen

My research is centered around interplay between mathematics and physics. To be more specific, my areas of interest include differential geometry, Lie theory and homological algebra on the mathematical side, and non-relativistic theories of gravity and field theory on the physical side. My current research projects are on classifying low dimensional strongly homotopy Lie algebras, which are a generalization of Lie algebras used in (string) field theories, and on understanding Chern-Simons theory for non-relativistic gravity and its relation with knots.

Giovanni van Marion
Giovanni van Marion

Giovanni van Marion

PhD Student at the van Swinderen Institute for Gravity and Particle Physics and the Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence

Supervisors: Daniël Boer and Holger Waalkens

One of the large open fundamental questions in physics is: "Why is there so much more matter than antimatter in the universe?" In regards to this question, I investigate the so-called sphaleron process, a hypothetical component of the solution. I apply an interdisciplinary approach to this problem by combining my theoretical physics background with mathematical techniques originally developed for chemistry.

Jann Aschersleben
Jann Aschersleben

Jann Aschersleben

PhD Student at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute and Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence

Supervisors: Reynier Peletier, Manuella Vecchi and Michael HF Wilkinson

My research is focused on the nature of dark matter, which is one of the biggest outstanding questions in physics. I develop machine learning algorithms to analyse the gamma-ray spectrum of dwarf galaxies with the upcoming Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) to search for a potential signal from dark matter self-annihilation.

Dijs de Neeling
Dijs de Neeling

Dijs de Neeling

PhD Student at the Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence and the Van Swinderen Institute for Gravity and Particle Physics

Supervisors: Diederik Roest, Marcello Seri and Holger Waalkens

In Newton’s theory of gravity, the two-body problem be solved easily, resulting in beautifully simple ellipses closing in on themselves (in principle) for all eternity. Einstein’s theory however becomes complicated so quickly that we cannot even exactly solve the ordinary Kepler problem! To get a grip on the properties of gravitational problems, we look at some theories slightly different from General Relativity, with more easily describable equations, guided, as often in Physics, by their symmetries.

Nanna Kerlauge
Nanna Kerlauge

Nanna Kerlauge

PhD Student at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute and Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence

Supervisors: John McKean and Anastasia Borschevsky

My research concerns the search for variation of fundamental constants using radio astronomy and computational chemistry. This is done using accurate measurements of molecular transitions in interstellar clouds, imprinted on background quasar spectra. These transitions energies, and their dependence on the fundamental constants, are computed using ab initio methods.

Thomas Flöss
Thomas Flöss

Thomas Flöss

PhD Student the Van Swinderen Institute for Gravity and Particle Physics and the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute

Supervisors: Diederik Roest, Daan Meerburg and Leon Koopmans

I study the use of 21 cm cosmology as a way to explore the physics of the early universe under the. The goal of my research is to determine predictions of cosmological inflation and determine to what extent the 21 cm signal from the Cosmological Dark Ages can be used to test them.

Bohdan Bidenko
Bohdan Bidenko

Bohdan Bidenko

PhD Student at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute and the Van Swinderen Institute for Gravity and Particle Physics

Supervisors: Daan Meerburg and Leon Koopmans

I study the tension between Hubble parameter estimates obtained with early and late Universe cosmological probes. I am looking for a possible solution to this problem by considering a wide range of standard cosmological model extensions and testing the effect of possible hidden systematic errors. In particular, the cosmological probes of my interest are the imprint of baryon acoustic oscillations in the large-scale structure and the cosmic microwave background, type Ia supernovae, and time-delay cosmography.

Bharath Chowdhary Nagam
Bharath Chowdhary Nagam

Bharath Chowdhary Nagam

PhD Student at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute and Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence

Supervisors:

  1. Prof. dr. L.V.E (Leon) Koopmans
  2. Prof. dr. Edwin A. Valentijn
  3. Dr. Marco Wiering
  4. Dr. Gijs Verdoes Kleijn

Project: Searching for extremely rare objects in the Universe

Detecting rare objects of high scientific importance such as strong gravitational lenses in large astronomical datasets will increase dramatically within ten years. Thus, my research project focuses on developing novel algorithms to create realistic synthetic image data of rare astronomical objects of interest and also developing deep learning based image classifiers such as Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) to be used in combination with other techniques such as Stacked Denoising Autoencoders (SDAe), Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), colour-scale filter augmentation etc., for efficiently detecting rare objects such as strong gravitational lensing in large datasets such as ESO-VST KiDS (Kilo - Degree Survey). This algorithm will also be scalable to future missions such as ESA’s Euclid satellite mission.

Last modified:07 October 2021 12.16 p.m.