simulated image of galaxy cluster

July 5, 2017, by Dr. Meghan Gray

Student Research: Crystal Clear Clusters

La Cristelera residencia

La Cristelera residencia, our home for the week in the mountains near Madrid

Straight into the deep end!

That’s what happened to undergraduate student Shaun Brown.  Just a week after finishing his third year, he’s started a summer project working with Alfonso Aragon-Salamanca and me in the astronomy group.  And just days after starting his summer project, he joined a group of Nottingham astronomers at the “Crystal Clear Clusters” workshop in Spain.


For five days we lived in a residencia in the mountain with other astronomers from around the world, with nothing to do but eat, sleep, and think about the Universe.  (OK, there was some hiking and football and a few hardy souls even braved the colder-than-expected temperatures to take a dip in the swimming pool!)


astronomers hiking in the mountains

Not all scientific discussions happened in the workshop room…

Here’s Shaun’s take on the experience:

I have been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to undertake a summer project in the University of Nottingham’s astronomy department. So far it has been a great experience. I am only a few weeks in and have already attended a week-long workshop in Spain fully funded by the university. This was a week dedicated for PhD students and researchers to study huge supercomputer simulations of galaxy clusters in detail.

It was an intense but amazing week where I’ve been able to get a lot of useful work done that will hopefully have a genuine impact on the understanding of these simulations. After a long week in Spain I’m now eager to get back and begin making progress on my summer project, which focusses on studying galaxies within the filaments of dark matter that make up the cosmic web.




Nottingham astronomy students on tour: Shaun Brown (undergrad), Jake Arthur (postgrad), Rachel Asquith (postgrad), Dylan Robson (undergraduate), Lyndsay Old (PhD 2015, now at the University of Toronto)

Astronomers hard at work

Posted in Student Research