Astrophysics and Cosmology

Decades of research in Astrophysics and Cosmology have provided answers to many fundamental questions on the Universe but at the same time have opened numerous new mysteries. Observations of large-scale structures have revealed the cosmic web, indicating that the Universe is made of a mix of just a few percentage of ordinary matter and large amounts of two constituents of unknown nature, dubbed dark matter and dark energy.

Image: ESA

Compact objects are found to be ubiquitous and responsible for different highly energetic phenomena, but their precise physical structure and their relationship with various Astrophysical sources is still undefined. Gravitational waves, predicted by Einstein a century ago, only now have just been detected. Overwhelming evidence proves the existence of planets beyond our Solar System, indicating them to be the norm rather than the exception, but true Earth analogues are still to be found and so is the determination of their potential habitability. The formation of our Solar System itself still holds many unsolved questions, as shown by the fossil record preserved in the form of small bodies.


The IEEC is working to shed light on these mysteries and, ultimately, to understand our place in the Universe in the broadest sense. Researchers at IEEC are using combined theoretical and observational approaches to unveil the structure of the Universe on its largest scales, determine the properties of dark matter and dark energy, detect gravitational waves, peer into the most energetic phenomena, unravel the nature and evolution of compact objects, understand the formation and architecture of the Galaxy, seek new Earths with potentially habitable conditions, and set the context of our own Solar System.

The collection of data spanning the entire spectrum of light and particles is actively pursued through the development of new instrumentation, and then interpreted using sophisticated theoretical and modeling tools. The IEEC is performing frontier research in the field of Astrophysics and Cosmology, and developing strong and multidisciplinary connections with diverse areas such as Fundamental Physics, Particle Physics, Geology and Biology.

Generalitat de CatalunyaUniversitat de BarcelonaUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaUniversitat Politècnica de CatalunyaConsejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasCentres de Recerca de Catalunya