The plenary talks are now available to view.

Modern Cosmology - Edmund Copeland

Over the last decade or so, observations of a number of features present in our Universe have led to a growing consensus that on large scales at least the Universe is pretty simple to understand. It looks to be well described by General Relativity, very uniform with structures being seeded from gravitational instability whose origin resides somewhere in the earliest moments of the Universe’s evolution. The energy content appears to be made up of baryons (~5%), cold dark matter (~25%) and dark energy (~70%), and everything seems to be consistent with the Universe being spatially flat and having an origin some 13.8 billion years ago. But when we delve a bit deeper there appear to be a number of features we actually don’t understand. What is the dark matter made of, what is the dark energy that is driving the Universe into a period of acceleration presently, and what were the origins of the seed fluctuations from which all structures emerged. Inflation seems to be the favourite candidate for the latter, but where does inflation reside in particle physics? It seems pretty hard to incorporate in models of the early Universe. In this talk we will revisit some of the exciting recent cosmological data including the direct detection of gravitational waves to address a number of these questions and also ask whether we are barking up the wrong tree. Maybe we are seeing the first evidence of modifications of General Relativity on large scales - if we are, how can we test for it?

Simulating the formation of galaxies - Joop Schaye

The realism of hydrodynamical simulations of the formation and evolution of galaxies has improved considerably in recent years. I will try to give some insight into the reasons behind this success, focusing in particular on the importance of subgrid models and the associated limitations. I will also present recent results from the cosmological EAGLE simulations as well as from higher-resolution simulations of individual galaxies.

Observing Galaxy Evolution - Mark Swinbank 

The redshift range z=1-3 corresponds to the era when the co-moving star formation density of the Universe peaked.  Spectroscopic surveys have shown that galaxies at these early times were drastically different from those locally, with massive, gas-rich galaxies undergoing rapid star formation in globally unstable disks, and the Hubble sequence not yet in place.  To understand the physical processes driving their star formation, we must spatially resolve the star formation and gas dynamics within the ISM of high-redshift galaxies on scales of individual star forming regions.  In this talk, I will review the latest multi-wavelength observations which aim to measure the interaction between star formation and gas dynamics within the ISM of hundreds of high-redshift galaxies on scales that range from a few kilo-parsecs to just 100 parsecs.  The goal of the observations is to constrain how the star formation assembled the bulk of the stellar mass in today’s massive galaxies and how secular processes crystallised the Hubble sequence around z~1.

The European Extremely Large Telescope - Isobel Hook

The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) is a future ground-based optical and infrared telescope. With a primary mirror diameter of 39m, it will be the largest optical-infrared telescope in the world when it enters operation in the middle of the next decade. Construction work is underway at the telescope site in Chile. In this talk I will discuss some highlights from the science case for the E-ELT, which ranges from studies of exo-planets to the most distant galaxies and cosmology. I will also describe the telescope design and plans for the instrumentation suite. Finally I will discuss the current status of the project.

The Herschel view of galaxies throughout cosmic time - Haley Gomez

Dust contains roughly half the heavy elements in the interstellar medium today, and is responsible for obscuring almost half of the energy emitted by stars since the Big Bang.  This light is re-emitted in a region of the electromagnetic spectrum that was, until recently, relatively unexplored.   The Herschel Space Observatory, launched in 2009, provided a unique opportunity to resolve this by directly tracing the total mass of dust in more than half a million galaxies.  This has allowed us to survey the peak of the dust emission in galaxies both near and far, providing a census of dust in galaxies throughout cosmic time. As well as targeted surveys of nearby galaxies, blind surveys with Herschel have provided an unprecedented view of the sky at these wavelengths.  In this review I will cover some of the highlights from Herschel’s many galaxy surveys including large dust discs, dust scaling relations and last, but not least, revealing dust sources in galaxies.

Exoplanets: present status and future opportunities - Don Pollacco

The first exoplanet orbiting a sun-like star was discovered barely 25yr ago. Since then there has been tremendous  progress both in the discovery of new planetary systems and their characterisation which belies the difficulty in their detection. In this talk I will review our current knowledge of exoplanets and the challenges they present. I will also look forward to new experiments that form the exoplanet roadmap going forward to the end of the next decade and predict what our state of knowledge will be at that time.

Our 21st Century Sun: Coronal Heating Revisited - Ineke de Moortel

Along with many other stars, the Sun's outer atmosphere has an extremely high temperature, rising from a surface temperature of 4000-6000 K, through the chromosphere and transition region to several million degrees in the corona. Although it is well established that the Sun's magnetic field is responsible for the supply of energy to the atmosphere, exactly how this magnetic energy is converted into thermal energy is still not understood in detail, as models struggle to simultaneously encompass the very disparate temporal and spatial scales on which the heating has to occur, in different structures, with a wide variety of characteristics (e.g. open versus closed structures, short quiet-sun loops versus hot active-region loops and large-scale interconnecting loops). This talk will describe the recent progress made towards understanding the “coronal heating problem” using the combination of today’s computational power and high-resolution observations.

The JUICE mission to Jupiter and its moons - Michele Dougherty

The European Space Agency mission JUICE (JUpiter ICy moon Explorer), is planned for launch in 2022. Details of the mission will be described, including the payload, planned orbits and the resulting science.  The focus of JUICE is to characterise the conditions that may have led to the emergence of habitable environments among the Jovian icy satellites, with special emphasis on the three ocean-bearing worlds, Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto. Ganymede is identified for detailed investigation since it provides a natural laboratory for analysis of the nature, evolution and potential habitability of icy worlds in general, and also because of the role it plays within the system of Galilean satellites, and its unique magnetic and plasma interactions with the surrounding Jovian environment. The mission will also focus on characterising the diversity of processes in the Jupiter system which may be required in order to provide a stable environment at Ganymede, Europa and Callisto on geologic time scales. Focused studies of Jupiter’s atmosphere and magnetosphere and their interaction with the Galilean satellites will further enhance our understanding of the evolution and dynamics of the Jovian system.