Shortlisted entries 2012

6. What if…?
Richard Newton

What happens when an exploding star hits a black hole? Why is our galaxy the way it is? Using simulations we can begin to answer these otherwise impossible questions and understand the millions of possibilities in the Universe. Our simulations are created using ‘supercomputers’ that give us the power we need to bring space down to Earth and study it in the lab. Simulations not only let us study the Universe in all its complexity but also create scientifically accurate pictures that can help everyone understand something as incredible as two galaxies, just like ours, colliding together – stars forming, black holes roaring! This picture shows model galaxies merging and the computer which created them. By simulating our current understanding of physics in this way, we can compare our findings with the work of astronomers, make predictions and improve our theories. Simulations bring the cosmos to Earth!

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