Dark energy and how and why the Universe accelerates – Muzikayise Sikhonde – UCT Cosmology and Gravity Group
Dark Energy, a mysterious force constituting approximately 70% of the universe, drives its accelerated expansion. This talk explores its discovery, properties, and theoretical models, highlighting its pivotal role in cosmology. We will examine the evidence supporting Dark Energy and discuss the ongoing challenges and future research directions. Understanding Dark Energy is crucial for unravelling the universe’s fate and dynamics.

Dr. Muzikayise Edward Sikhonde, a Lecturer at UCT specialising in Theoretical Cosmology. I hold a PhD in Applied Mathematics from UCT, where my research focused on shear-free perfect fluid theorems in general relativity. I also completed my MSc through the National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme, studying chameleon-photon mixing from pulsars. My academic journey began with a BSc in Mathematics and Statistics from UWC. Throughout my career, I have published in renowned journals and presented at international conferences, supported by prestigious grants such as the SKA PhD Grant.

Black holes and how to make them at home – Jess Worsley – UCT Cosmology and Gravity Group
Discover how these enigmatic cosmic giants bend space and time, what happens beyond their event horizons, and why they continue to fascinate scientists and adventurers alike.

Jess is currently pursuing her master’s in cosmology at UCT with a focus on modified gravity. She works part-time at the planetarium and enjoys sci-fi, mountain climbing and ocean swims.

Gravitational Waves – ripples in the fabric of spacetime that allow us to listen to the cosmos – Jenna Bruton – UCT Cosmology and Gravity Group 
For centuries, astronomers have relied on light to explore the cosmos, however, light can only take us so far – How do we see where there is no light? Enter: Gravitational Waves – ripples in the fabric of spacetime that allow us to listen to the cosmos. This talk dives into the science of gravitational waves, discussing how Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity predicted their existence over a hundred years ago, how we detect them using earth and space-based observatories and what gravitational waves can help us learn about Black Holes, Neutron stars and the birth of the universe.

Jenna is currently a Master’s Student in Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town, focusing on Gravitational Waves in Modified Theories of gravity as a member of the Cosmology and Gravity Group. She hopes to continue this work and complete a PhD in future.

The spacetime: a trip through our deep understanding of Nature – Alvaro de la Cruz-Dombriz – UCT Cosmology and Gravity Group
The concepts of space and time in the history of Humanity have changed through history and play a key role in Quantum Physics, General Relativity and the Standard Cosmological Model. Welcome to this wonderful travel!

Since 2015 Alvaro has been a Senior Lecturer at the UCT Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics. He obtained his PhD at the Complutense U. of Madrid, Spain in 2010 and before joining UCT he was a Marie Curie Fellow at the Space Sciences Institute of Barcelona. Since 2006 he has published more than 60 articles in high-impact peer-reviewed journals with seminal contributions in the areas of cosmological large-scale structures, modified theories of gravity and dark matter signals. He has graduated multiple Masters and PhD students and belongs to the SARAO-SKA Cosmology and Gravitational Waves Working Groups. He is also the founder president of the Society of Spanish Researchers in Southern Africa, one of the sponsors of this series of talks.