After the hot Big Bang the Universe expanded and cooled, eventually turning the primordial soup of particles into a sea of neutral gas. This process started the period in the evolution of the Universe referred to as the "Dark Ages", since during that time there was no light in the Universe save the faint glow remaining from the Big Bang. The small density inhomogeneities left over from the period of fast initial expansion gradually grew under the force of gravity, and eventually formed the First Stars and Galaxies. The light from these first objects slowly reionized the whole intergalactic medium and ended the Dark Ages. This transition had profound effects on the formation and character of the early cosmological structures and left deep impressions on subsequent galaxy and star formation, some of which last up to the present day. Within this broad area there are several possible projects which will study different facets of this complex picture. The main questions include: how the first cosmic structures formed and what were their feedback effects, how reionization progressed and what observational signatures it yielded, and how it affected latter-time galaxy formation and our own neighbourhood in the Universe.
Please use the links below for more details about individual projects.