Anyway, the astronomers who made the discovery about Andromeda deserve our awe and respect, because their everyday job consists of dealing with concepts so intense and overwhelming that it's a wonder their skulls don't implode through sheer vertigo. Generally speaking, it's best not to contemplate the full scope of the universe on a day-to-day basis because it makes a mockery of basic chores. It's Tuesday night and the rubbish van comes first thing Wednesday morning, so you really ought to put the bin bags out, but hey – if our sun were the size of a grain of sand, the stars in our galaxy would fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and if our entire galaxy were a grain of sand, the galaxies in our universe would fill several Olympic-sized swimming pools. You and your bin bags. Pfff!
Charlie Brooker in The Guardian on our Andromeda research.
The universe is dominated by the "dark side", matter and energy that have shaped the expansion and the formation of galaxies. My research involves observing the universe, using distant galaxies, supernovae and quasars to measure the properties of the dark side. I also use supercomputers to to build synthetic universes, tracing the flow of dark matter and gas into galaxies, and including new and novel physics of the dark side.
I am involved in detailed surveys:
Exploring the Universe
How did galaxies like our own Milky Way arise from the featureless universe that existed after the Big Bang? We now know that galaxies grow over time, accreting smaller systems. Through Galactic Archaeology, we try to piece together the accretion history of the Galaxy through observing debris of disrupted dwarf galaxies and globular clusters, measuring the velocity and chemistry of stars.
I'm involved in several key surveys:
How does the universe behave at a fundamental level? Through my research, I have tackled this question, exploring the meaning of expanding space, motion in the universe, and the ultimate fate of the cosmos. A lot of my research focuses upon the question of "fine-tuning", examining the fact that slightly varying the fundamental properties of the universe would leave it dead and sterile. This research pushes past the purely physical and into the philosophical and metaphysical, considering topic such as the multiverse and simulated universes.