This is the fourth of the audiovisual productions by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias with funding from the Severo Ochoa programme

 See the video “IAC Researches - Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics”

“Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics” is the fourth chapter in a series of videos produced by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) in which the Institute explains its key areas of research. In this episode, researchers and engineers talk about two promising disciplines which aim at understanding the complete history of the Universe and the physical laws which govern it, which comprise Cosmology and Astroparticle physics.

Modern Cosmology studies the Universe as a whole, which implies the study of its properties, contents, origin, evolution and fate. In this research, cosmologists try to detect indirect traces of its origin. One of these fossil imprints is the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB), a residue of the Big Bang, which floods the whole of space. Cosmologists are convinced that there are other tracers which could give us further information about the initial instants of the Universe. In particular, they expect to detect a specific type of signal, the primordial B-modes, which would demonstrate the existence of gravitational waves generated by the phase of accelerated expansion, which occurred during these initial instants, which is termed Inflation.

Astroparticle physics is dedicated to the study of the elementary particles which arise during the most violent and extreme phenomena in the Universe. Its objective is to discover where these particles come from, and the processes which accelerate them to high energies. To carry out this research, a number of different detection methods have been developed, according to the type of particles: above all, gamma rays and cosmic rays. One of the main achievements which the researcher hope to make is the detection of “dark matter” which would be of great impact in Cosmology. The combination of the two branches of research would be definitive for the study of the so-called “zero instant”, the moment which saw the birth of our Universe, and where we hope to find the key to one of the main challenges of modern physics, the creation of a unified theory which would connect all the forces of nature into a single entity.

The IAC is one of the main research centres in these two field, not only publishing scientific results, but also developing specific instruments. The IAC is participating in the majority of international experiments in Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics. Among these it is leading the QUIJOTE experiment, which is looking for the trace of the B-modes originated in the first instants of the Universe. The IAC is also participating in setting up the new Cherenkov Telescope Array, for detecting and researching high energy gamma rays. It is also involved in the development and the scientific exploitation of the next mission of the European Space Agency (ESA), EUCLID, which will study the properties of dark energy.

Participating in the video are the reseachers Rafael Rebolo López, Ramón García López, Alberto Rubiño Martín, Ricardo Génova Santos, Marina Manganaro and Diego Tescaro, as well as the engineers Vicente Sánchez de la Rosa, Ángeles Pérez de Taoro and Roger Hoyland. The technical team which made the video comprises: Iván Jiménez Montalvo (director, scriptwriter and editor), Inés Bonet Márquez (camera and post-production), Daniel López (camera dolly y timelapse), Nayra Rodríguez Eugenio (production) y Alberto Rubiño (science advisor).

The IAC in five videos

These videos have been coordinated by the Unit of Communication and Science Culture (UC3) of the IAC, and have been funded by the Severo Ochoa Programme, which is an initiative of the Secretariat of State for Research, Development and Innovation of the Ministry of Economy and Competitivity, whose purpose is to promote research of excellence carried out in Spain in any field of science.

The videos explain, in a simple summarized way, the scientific and technological aspects of each branch of study and pick out the benefits which research in astrophysics gives to society. Each video is a mosaic of voices in which the members of the research teams combine to act as narrators blending into a single narrative. The locations are given particular importance, as the narrators are situated in places which show their day to day working environment, and which are parts of the infrastructure and services which make the IAC a centre of excellence with international prestige.

Other videos in the series:


Related press releases:



First showing of the "GALAXIES" video


This is the third audiovisual production by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias with funding from the Severo Ochoa programme

 See the video "IAC Researches - Galaxies"

“Galaxies” is the third chapter of an audiovisual series produced by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias in which its principal lines of research are explained. In this video, researchers and engineers tell us about the key points in the study of the formation and evolution of galaxies, which are one of the main constituents of the universe.

Galaxies are structures made up of several thousands of millions of stars, together with interstellar gas and dust, bound together by gravity. But this type of matter which we can observe is not the only constituent of galaxies. There is more matter which we cannot detect directly but which contributes a significant fraction of the gravitational force which governs the rotation of spiral galaxies. This invisible matter is known as “dark matter” and is the major component of the masses of galaxies. However the nature of this component has not been demonstrated, at least until now, and it may be treated as a theoretical tool to explain the observations and to support the dominant cosmological model.

The study of galaxies is fundamental not only for us to understand the unknown constituents of the universe, but also to give us clues to many other questions. Among these, the galaxies can help us to understand the large scale structure of the universe, known as the cosmic web, a network of interconnected filaments, in which the main fraction of the galaxies is distributed. In addition, the galaxies have evolved throughout the lifetime of the universe, so they can be used as “time machines” whose observation allows us to reconstruct cosmic history, virtually since its origin.

The IAC is an important research centre in this field. It participates in many of the international projects dedicated to the study of galaxies, and to the development of specific instrumentation for both ground-based and space-based galaxy observations, covering practically the full range of the electromagnetic spectrum. EMIR, MIRADAS, FRIDA, WEAVE, and HARMONI, are among the projects for future instruments for the study of galaxies in which the IAC plays a leading role. The Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) is one of the outstanding tools available at its Roque de los Muchachos Observatory enabling it to maintain a lead in this field of research. The IAC also collaborates in the main observing campaigns designed to produce surveys at an international level, and to make optimum scientific use of their results. It also has at its disposal the European supercomputing network in order to carry out simulations and numerical modelling.

The researchers Carme Gallart Gallart, Casiana Muñoz Tuñón, Ismael Pérez Fournon, Ignacio Trujillo Cabrera, Cristina Ramos Almeida, José Miguel Rodríguez Espinosa, Jorge Sánchez Almeida, John E. Beckman, Claudio Dalla Vecchia, Inmaculada Martínez Valpuesta, Begoña García Lorenzo and the engineer Mary Barreto Cabrera participate in the video. The technical team which contributed to its production is formed by Iván Jiménez Montalvo (script, editing and direction), Inés Bonet Márquez (camera and postproduction), Daniel López (camera dolly and timelapses) and Nayra Rodríguez Eugenio (production and scientific advisor).

The IAC in five videos

The production of these videos has been coordinated by the Unit of Communication and Scientific Culture (UC3) of the IAC, and has been funded by the Severo Ochoa Programme which is an initiative of the Secretariat of State for Research, Development and Innovation of the Ministry of Economics and Competitivity, whose purpose is to promote research of excellence in Spain in all scientific fields. The videos produced fall within the framework of the specific objectives of the programme aimed at popularizing the results of scientific research among the general public, and encouraging scientific vocation.

The videos explain, in the form of simple summaries, the scientific and technological aspects of each field of study, and pick out that benefits which scientific research can provide to society, as a tool for transfer science and technology, for the creation of a specialized fabric, both human and industrial, and as an inspiration which satisfies our innate curiosity to know and understand.

Each video is a mosaic of voices in which the team of researchers and engineers involved in each of the fields of study act as narrators blending their voices into a single easy to follow narrative. They not only give information but give their opinions and even speculate about the big questions which exist about our universe. In each videos the locations are especially important, because the narrators are situated in places which illustrate their daily working environment, and which form part of the infrastructures and services which make the IAC a prestigious centre of excellence.

Ceremony of accreditation to the 'Severo Ochoa' Centres and 'María de Maeztu' Units 2015

The Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation, Carmen Vela, will preside the ceremony of accreditation of the 'Severo Ochoa' Centres and 'María de Maeztu' Units of excellence.


Day /Time: 2 Feb, 2016, 12:00h
Location: Salón de Actos, Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad. Paseo de la Castellana, 162. Madrid.
Organizer: SEIDI, Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad


The event will be attended by representatives of the 15 centers and units that have been awarded in 2015, including the Director of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, Rafael Rebolo. These awards recognize the scientific contributions made by the centers and units at national and international level, their business and social impact, and their ability to attract talent.

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