Feed icon


Professor Hiranya Peiris IOP Prize

Professor Hiranya Peiris recognised with prestigious physics prize

Professor Hiranya Peiris, Dr Helen Czerski and Professor Jennifer Thomas have been awarded medals and prizes by the Institute of Physics (IOP) for their outstanding, sustained and distinguished contributions to physics. More...

DESI Corrector

DESI corrector at UCL ready to be shipped

The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument’s (DESI) wide field optical corrector has been fully assembled and tested at UCL and is due to be shipped to the Mayall telescope at Kitt Peak Observatory in Arizona for commissioning.


UCL to lead European mission to study new planets

UCL is leading a multi-million pound European mission to study newly discovered planets after it was selected today as the next European Space Agency science mission. More...

Data on 400 million astronomical objects released

Scientists on the Dark Energy Survey (DES), which includes UCL Astrophysics Group (P&A) researchers, announce their first three years of data including information on about 400 million astronomical objects such as distant galaxies billions of light years away as well as stars in our own galaxy. More...

Professor Hiranya Peiris shares Breakthrough Prize for early universe mapping

5 December 2017

A leading UCL cosmologist has shared this year’s $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for creating detailed maps of the early Universe.

Professor Hiranya Peiris

Professor Hiranya Peiris (UCL Physics & Astronomy) worked as a PhD student on the NASA satellite known as Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), which helped shape our understanding of the origin, evolution and nature of the cosmos.

The mission mapped the cosmic microwave background – the light left over from the Big Bang – to allow scientists to work out the age of the Universe, its rate of expansion and its basic composition.

Professor Peiris’ work involved analysing the first round of data from the experiment for cosmological interpretation. In particular, her research led to a significant understanding of the origin of cosmic structure in the very early Universe. 

“It’s a huge honour to have been part of this project. The legacy of the WMAP mission continues to strongly influence research in cosmology worldwide,” said Professor Peiris.

“WMAP’s experimental  sensitivity and resolution allowed us to figure out the basic cosmological model that describes our Universe.”

The WMAP mission was followed by the Planck satellite which was operated by the European Space Agency from 2009 to 2013.

The Planck project, which focused on analysing the cosmic microwave background with even greater sensitivity and resolution, had significant UCL involvement both on the instrumentation and cosmological analysis, including contributions by Professor Peiris supported by an ERC consolidator grant.

The Breakthrough Prize will be shared among the 27 member-strong WMAP Science Team. The Prize in Fundamental Physics recognises major insights into the deepest questions of the Universe.

Page last modified on 05 dec 17 12:00