Cosmology on Safari

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Participants at the international conference "Cosmology on Safari”, Hluhluwe, South Africa.

Cosmology is a branch of astrophysics that involves the study of the origin and evolution of the universe, from the Big Bang to the present and on into the future. It is an expanding field of research with many unknowns.

From the 4th – 8th of March LIV.DAT student Robert Poole-Mckenzie attended the bi-annual international conference “Cosmology on Safari”, hosted by the Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, which takes place in Hluhluwe, South Africa. The conference focuses on the interplay between cosmological models and data, with an emphasis on examining the current challenges that remain in cosmology.

The week consisted of various topics in the field of cosmology, including theoretical perspectives on dark matter, dark energy and the early universe. In addition to several observational research areas, such as cosmic microwave background experiments, large scale structure surveys, gravitational lensing and many more.

Alongside the invited speakers and other research talks, Robert presented his own work titled “Constraining the local dark matter distribution using Milky Way cosmological simulations”. His talk consisted of his research from the first year of his PhD, where he has been using cosmological simulations of Milky Way-like galaxies to model the velocity distribution of dark matter in the Solar neighbourhood and its implication on direct detection experiments for constraining the physical properties of dark matter.