Research Horizons is the University of Cambridge’s research magazine.

Foreword for Issue 26 (Spotlight on Imaging) from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research:

If there’s one thing that Cambridge has always excelled in, it’s finding new ways of looking at the world. And now, this is quite literally true. Issue 26 focuses on research that’s been enabled by the ability to explore far beyond what the eye can see. From visualising microscopic cells to massive galaxies, imaging is a core tool for many research fields today, and it’s also the basis of a surge in recent technical developments – some of which are being pioneered in Cambridge.

Much of the excitement around imaging is linked to its remarkably cross-disciplinary nature. We are seeing biologists working with physicists and mathematicians, chemists with art conservators, astronomers with clinicians. Central to these activities is the development of imaging techniques and the interpretation of the images obtained. Cambridge has huge strengths in these areas.

As imaging becomes more complex, the information we gather becomes greater. A single experiment can generate terabytes of data, requiring complex mathematical algorithms to make sense of it all. ‘Big data’ issues are now so frequent in imaging, as well as in other fields, that last year we launched a University-wide Strategic Research Initiative in Big Data – a topic we’ll be covering in the next issue of Research Horizons.

In this issue, we also cover the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), itself a prolific generator of data. Following the discovery of the Higgs boson, the LHC has been shut down for two years to upgrade and is now being prepared for its second run by scientists, Cambridge researchers among them.

We hope you enjoy this issue.

Professor Lynn Gladden