Oliver Newton

I'm a PhD research student at the Institute for Computational Cosmology in Durham, working with Prof. Adrian Jenkins and Prof. Carlos Frenk. My main areas of research focus on the 'small scale' (that is, galaxies smaller than our own) and how we can use this to infer the properties of Dark Matter.

About me

I grew up in the East Midlands before pursuing my BSc and MPhys in Physics at the University of Warwick. After a year away from academic life I moved to Durham University to work on my PhD. I'm now in my final year and writing up is on the horizon!


Out of the office I enjoy playing music with a variety of bands and orchestras, and have done so since an early age. In that time I've had the opportunity to perform in venues across the UK and Europe, including multiple appearances in London's Royal Albert Hall. I've also been able to combine my love of numbers and music by becoming a trustee of the UniBrass Foundation!


Primarily my research relates to the dwarf galaxies of the Milky Way as visible probes of dark matter structure. In the standard cosmological model (known as ΛCDM) dark matter is hugely influential in shaping the evolution of the Universe; indeed, we believe that it makes up ∼85% of all matter. However, we still don't know what it is. No dark matter (DM) particle has been seen directly in any detectors, so we are left to try to infer some of its properties from a mix of astrophysical observations of galaxies and advanced computer simulations.

You can see a full list of my publications here.

Satellite galaxies of the Milky Way

A major prediction of ΛCDM is that the present-day Milky Way is embedded in a DM halo that is rich with thousands of slightly smaller DM clumps, or substructures. Many — but not all — of these are expected to host satellite galaxies. Observational campaigns to detect some of these elusive objects have been carried out already, with further surveys planned to commence operations in the next few years. While this work is being undertaken we can use observations from partial surveys of the sky to infer the total number and luminosity function of satellite galaxies around the Milky Way.

Newton et al., 2018, MNRAS, 479(3), 2853-2870

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