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ERC Starting Grant for Pratika Dayal

19 September 2016

Astronomer Pratika Dayal (University of Groningen, Kapteyn Institute) has been awarded a Starting Grant by the European Research Council (ERC). The Starting Grant is a personal grant worth EUR 1.5 million, intended to allow talented young researchers to spend five years on their research.

Dayal has recently been installed as a Rosalind Franklin Fellow and she is one of the founding members of the Young Academy Groningen.

Research proposal Pratika Dayal

The ERC project is titled "DELPHI: a framework to study Dark Matter and the emergence of galaxies in the epoch of reionization". Galaxy formation in the first billion years marks a time of great upheaval in the history of the Universe: as the first sources of light, these galaxies ended the 'cosmic dark ages' and produced the first photons that could break apart the fragile hydrogen atoms suffusing all of space starting the process of cosmic reionization. As the earliest building blocks the galaxies that formed in the first billion years also determine the physical properties of all subsequent galaxy populations. This project aims at building a complete and coherent theoretical model to understand the key physics driving galaxy formation and evolution in the first billion years. It also aims to use these tiny systems to shed light on the unknown nature of "Dark Matter" that makes up 80% of all matter in the Universe. The ‘Rosetta Stone’ of modern astrophysics, the earliest galaxies are critical to understand the beautifully complex Universe we see today.

Pratika Dayal
Last modified:18 October 2016 2.39 p.m.
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