By Jack Eardley
Last week, after being well received at Durham Lumiere, it was announced that the Cosmoscope display would make a return as a feature of next year’s London Lumiere festival.
London Lumiere will “transform the city and offer new perspectives on the capital’s iconic streets and landmarks”, said Sadiq Kahn, the Mayor of London.
The Cosmoscope installation was created by the professor of sculpture at the University of Hertfordshire, Simeon Nelson, and is inspired by the cutting edge research of EAGLE (Evolution and assembly of galaxies and their environments) at Durham.
The artistic work employs a complex spherical structure to describe the similarities between the universe and atoms and molecules.
The EAGLE project itself makes use of Durham’s supercomputer to run a dynamic simulation of the formation of galaxies in our universe. The simulation took 45 days of computer time on 4000 CPU cores.
A box with lengths of 300 million light years, containing up to 10000 galaxies, was simulated from an early fairly uniform stage up until mass galaxy formation.
This simulation is regarded as one of the most accurate of a collection of galaxies to date. The EAGLE project showed galaxy formation through the commonly accepted method of gas falling into dark matter structures and cooling to form stars, around which solar systems and galaxies can form.
Photograph: Simeon Nelson et al. Lumiere Durham