Prof. Carlos Frenk is one of the originators of the Cold Dark Matter theory for the origin of galaxies and cosmic structures in the Universe. He has done pioneering work on the development of large computer simulations recreating the growth and evolution of cosmic structures. Currently, he is the director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology in Durham (UK) and Ogden Professor of Fundamental Physics. He is also one of the leading figures in the Virgo Consortium for Cosmological Supercomputer Simulations. In 2014, the British Royal Astronomical Society awarded him the Gold Medal in honour of his outstanding achievements in the field of cosmology.
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 galaxies and other structures form? There has been enormous progress in the past few decades towards answering these questions. For example, recent observations have established that our universe contains an unexpected mix of components: ordinary atoms, 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 means to relate processes occuring near the beginning with observations of the universe today. A coherent picture of cosmic evolution, going back to a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, is beginning to emerge. However, fundamental issues, like the identity of the dark matter and the nature of the dark energy, remain unresolved.
The Oort Lecture is an annual event, in memory of the famous Dutch astronomer, organized by the Jan Hendrik Oort foundation and Leiden Observatory. The lecture covers an astronomical subject of current interest and is intended for a mixed audience with a general interest in astronomy. This lecture takes place on April 23, 2015, at 8:00 p.m., in the Academic Building in Leiden.