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About Us

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The Astrophysics Research Centre (ARC) is part of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). We strive to be a world-class centre of excellence for research and postgraduate training in astrophysics and related data-intensive science.

ARC’s mission is to engage in fundamental research and produce high-quality postgraduate students, who will become leading astronomy researchers, or find employment in industry. We partner with leading national and international institutions to engage in innovative research and training. We also aim to enhance the global understanding of astrophysics through a focus on public engagement.

Our main areas of research are relativistic astrophysics and cosmology. We have a strong theory group who focus on the study of gravity and compact objects, such as neutron stars and black holes. Our observational astrophysicists collaborate on projects such as the Atacama Cosmology Telescope, Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array, and Simons Observatory. Many of our researchers are analysing data from MeerKAT, South Africa’s world leading radio observatory. ARC is the lead institution in the Hydrogen Intensity and Real-time Analysis eXperiment (HIRAX), which seeks to map the large scale distribution of matter in the early universe to shed light on the nature of dark matter and dark energy.

ARC’s researchers are based in the School of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science and the School of Chemistry and Physics at the Westville Campus. We also host a number of honorary and fractional research professors from institutions in Canada, France, India, Russia, and the UK.

ARC was formally constituted in March 2020, and builds upon the legacy of the Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit, which was founded in 2004 under the direction of Prof. Sunil Maharaj.