Our research covers a wide range of topics from star formation and spiral structure in nearby galaxies, the growth of supermassive black holes in galaxy nuclei to the evolution of galaxies and clusters in the early universe. We carry out observations, theoretical research and develop numerical simulations of for example galactic dynamics and astrochemistry. We also help to develop future telescopes on the ground and in space. The main motivation of our work is a curiosity about how the Universe evolves and a drive to educate and inspire the next generation of scientists. Below are some examples of areas where we are particularly active:
High redshift galaxies and clusters
Using the largest, international telescopes such as the Atacama Large Millimeter Telescope (ALMA), we are investigating the formation and evolution of galaxies during the first few billion years after the big bang. This epoch represents the rise and peak of cosmic star formation and black hole growth activity. Major discoveries include finding vast amounts of gas in galaxies. Clusters of galaxies are the largest self-gravitating structures in the Universe. Through a combination of observations and modelling, we study them both as complex astrophysical systems and cosmological probes.
Luminous Infrared Galaxies, interacting galaxies and AGNs
We explore the local cosmic evolution through the study of nearby galaxies and the growth of their supermassive black holes. One focus is on the luminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs) where huge radiated power outputs mark phases of extraordinarily rapid evolution. Major discoveries include finding extremely obscured galaxies that hide regions of exceptional growth. Many LIRGs are interacting and we study the impact and importance of interactions (major and minor mergers) for galaxy evolution across cosmic time. We also study AGNs and AGN feedback (jets and outflows) in particular at the longer wavelengths (e.g. ALMA and LOFAR).
We investigate the physics and dynamics of galaxies both in the local Universe and at high redshift, focusing on the link between gravitational instability and other fundamental processes: star formation, angular momentum and interstellar turbulence. We carry out observations as well as dynamical simulations and we also study the magnetic fields in galactic disks, spiral arms and in gas flows. A growing new field is the study of the dynamics of galactic outflows.