From The University of Bonn [Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn] (DE) and The University of St Andrews [Scots: University o St Andras][Scottish Gaelic: Oilthigh Chill Rìmhinn](SCT) Via “EarthSky” : “Dark matter mystery in Fornax Cluster”

From The University of Bonn [Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn] (DE)


U St Andrews bloc

The University of St Andrews [Scots: University o St Andras][Scottish Gaelic: Oilthigh Chill Rìmhinn](SCT)





This is the dwarf galaxy NGC 1427A, in the Fornax Cluster of galaxies, some 62 million light-years away. A new study shows that it and other dwarf galaxies in the cluster lack of dark matter halos. Read about this dark matter mystery below. Image via The European Southern Observatory [La Observatorio Europeo Austral] [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte](EU)(CL)/ The Rhenish Friedrich Wilhelm University of Bonn[Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn](DE).

Galaxies are islands of stars in the sea of space. But galaxies are more than just the stars we see. According to the Standard Model of cosmology – which explains many observed properties of our universe and suggests that a Big Bang created all matter, space and time – most galaxies should be surrounded by a halo of dark matter.

The dark matter is invisible to our eyes, but detectable via its gravitational pull. From time to time, though, there have been attempts to replace the Standard Model with a different model. And now another new study – announced August 5, 2022 – challenges the view of the universe presented by the Standard Model. The study is based on an analysis of dwarf galaxies in the Fornax Cluster, the second-closest large galaxy cluster to our Milky Way. The Standard Model says these little galaxies should have dark matter halos. The observations show no trace of dark matter halos.

Scientists at the University of Bonn in Germany and the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland led the study. These researchers published their peer-reviewed findings in the MNRAS [below] on June 25, 2022.

A tidal force acting between galaxies

So the Fornax Cluster is the second-closest large galaxy cluster to our Milky Way. And, like all galaxy clusters, it contains many dwarf galaxies, often captured in orbits around the cluster’s larger galaxies. Being smaller, these dwarf galaxies are susceptible to the gravitational pull of the larger galaxies. And so they are subject to gravitational “tides,” not dissimilar from ocean tides on Earth, caused by the pull of the moon and sun.

Consider that the moon pulls most strongly on the side of Earth that’s facing it. And it pulls less strongly on the side of Earth farthest from the moon. That’s why we have two tidal bulges on Earth, and two high tides (and two low tides) each day all over the planet (read more about Earth’s tidal bulges here).

Likewise, a larger galaxy exerts a differential tidal force across a dwarf galaxy. It pulls more strongly on the near side of the dwarf galaxy than on the far side. And these scientist studied these tidal forces in dwarf galaxies in order to draw their conclusions. As lead study author Elena Asencio of University of Bonn said:

“We introduce an innovative way of testing the Standard Model based on how much dwarf galaxies are disturbed by gravitational ‘tides’ from nearby larger galaxies.”

The dwarf galaxies didn’t look right

So these researchers noticed something odd about the dwarf galaxies in the Fornax Cluster. The little galaxies didn’t look as they should look, according to the Standard Model. They looked distorted. What was causing that? And could another model of the universe explain these observations better? According to Pavel Kroupa at the University of Bonn and Charles University in Prague:

“Such perturbations in the Fornax dwarfs are not expected according to the Standard Model. This is because, according to the Standard Model, the dark matter halos of these dwarfs should partly shield them from tides raised by the cluster.”

In other words, if dark matter surrounded these clusters, it should in part protect them from the pull of nearby larger galaxies. Yet these dwarf galaxies appeared unshielded in this way. They were visibly distorted.

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) released this image of the Fornax Cluster of galaxies on December 11, 2009. Image via J. Emerson/ ESO/ VISTA/ Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit.

Scientists still don’t know exactly what dark matter is, as depicted in this artist’s concept. Since the 1930s, astrophysicists have been trying to explain why the visible material in galaxies can’t account for how galaxies are shaped, or how they behave. They believe dark matter pervades our universe, but they don’t know what it is. Image via ScienceAlert.

What was seen

How did these researchers conduct their study? They analyzed the expected amount of disturbance in the little galaxies, in accordance with the Standard Model’s predictions. And then they compared those results with the observed level of disturbance in images taken by the VLT Survey Telescope of the European Southern Observatory.

As Asencio stated:

“The comparison showed that, if one wants to explain the observations in the Standard Model, the Fornax dwarfs should already be destroyed by gravity from the cluster center …”

So the theory and the observations didn’t match.

An alternate model, MOND

The researchers said the observed disturbances can’t be explained using the Standard Model. So they repeated their analysis using an alternate model, called the Modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND).
MOND [Modified Newtonian dynamics]

Mordehai Milgrom, MOND theorist, is an Israeli physicist and professor in the department of Condensed Matter Physics at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel


MOND is a hypothesis proposing a modification of Newton’s law of universal gravitation. It’s an alternate theory of the universe. Indranil Banik from the University of St. Andrews commented:

“We were not sure that the dwarf galaxies would be able to survive the extreme environment of a galaxy cluster in MOND, due to the absence of protective dark matter halos in this model. But our results show a remarkable agreement between observations and the MOND expectations for the level of disturbance of the Fornax dwarfs.”

Co-authors Aku Venhola from the University of Oulu in Finland and Steffen Mieske from ESO added:

“It is exciting to see that the data we obtained with the VLT survey telescope allowed such a thorough test of cosmological models.”

Where does this leave the Standard Model?

The Fornax dwarf galaxy study is the latest of multiple recent studies suggesting that the observed dynamics and evolution of some galaxies can be best explained if no dark matter surrounds them. Yet the Standard Model calls for dark matter around galaxies. Pavel Kroupa at the University of Bonn said:

“The number of publications showing incompatibilities between observations and the dark matter paradigm just keeps increasing every year. It is time to start investing more resources into more promising theories.”

Hongsheng Zhao from the University of St Andrews added:

“Our results have major implications for fundamental physics. We expect to find more disturbed dwarfs in other clusters, a prediction which other teams should verify.”

Last December, scientists reported finding six other galaxies that seem to be missing dark matter. Astronomers also found two other similar galaxies in 2019 as well.

If, in the future, researchers discover more galaxies lacking of dark matter halos, astronomers may have to reconsider whether the Standard Model – with its Big Bang and dark matter framework for galaxy evolution – still is the best model describing our universe, and open up the possibility of other scenarios.

Science paper:
Dark Matter Background
Fritz Zwicky discovered Dark Matter in the 1930s when observing the movement of the Coma Cluster., Vera Rubin a Woman in STEM, denied the Nobel, some 30 years later, did most of the work on Dark Matter.

Fritz Zwicky.
Coma cluster via NASA/ESA Hubble, the original example of Dark Matter discovered during observations by Fritz Zwicky and confirmed 30 years later by Vera Rubin.
In modern times, it was astronomer Fritz Zwicky, in the 1930s, who made the first observations of what we now call dark matter. His 1933 observations of the Coma Cluster of galaxies seemed to indicated it has a mass 500 times more than that previously calculated by Edwin Hubble. Furthermore, this extra mass seemed to be completely invisible. Although Zwicky’s observations were initially met with much skepticism, they were later confirmed by other groups of astronomers.

Thirty years later, astronomer Vera Rubin provided a huge piece of evidence for the existence of dark matter. She discovered that the centers of galaxies rotate at the same speed as their extremities, whereas, of course, they should rotate faster. Think of a vinyl LP on a record deck: its center rotates faster than its edge. That’s what logic dictates we should see in galaxies too. But we do not. The only way to explain this is if the whole galaxy is only the center of some much larger structure, as if it is only the label on the LP so to speak, causing the galaxy to have a consistent rotation speed from center to edge.

Vera Rubin, following Zwicky, postulated that the missing structure in galaxies is dark matter. Her ideas were met with much resistance from the astronomical community, but her observations have been confirmed and are seen today as pivotal proof of the existence of dark matter.
Astronomer Vera Rubin at the Lowell Observatory in 1965, worked on Dark Matter (The Carnegie Institution for Science).

Vera Rubin, with Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) image tube spectrograph attached to the Kitt Peak 84-inch telescope, 1970.

Vera Rubin measuring spectra, worked on Dark Matter(Emilio Segre Visual Archives AIP SPL).
Dark Matter Research

Super Cryogenic Dark Matter Search from DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University at SNOLAB (Vale Inco Mine, Sudbury, Canada).

LBNL LZ Dark Matter Experiment xenon detector at Sanford Underground Research Facility Credit: Matt Kapust.

Lamda Cold Dark Matter Accerated Expansion of The universe http the-cosmic-inflation-suggests-the-existence-of-parallel-universes. Credit: Alex Mittelmann.

DAMA at Gran Sasso uses sodium iodide housed in copper to hunt for dark matter LNGS-INFN.

Yale HAYSTAC axion dark matter experiment at Yale’s Wright Lab.

DEAP Dark Matter detector, The DEAP-3600, suspended in the SNOLAB (CA) deep in Sudbury’s Creighton Mine.

The LBNL LZ Dark Matter Experiment Dark Matter project at SURF, Lead, SD.

DAMA-LIBRA Dark Matter experiment at the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics’ (INFN’s) Gran Sasso National Laboratories (LNGS) located in the Abruzzo region of central Italy.

DARWIN Dark Matter experiment. A design study for a next-generation, multi-ton dark matter detector in Europe at The University of Zurich [Universität Zürich](CH).

PandaX II Dark Matter experiment at Jin-ping Underground Laboratory (CJPL) in Sichuan, China.

Inside the Axion Dark Matter eXperiment U Washington (US) Credit : Mark Stone U. of Washington. Axion Dark Matter Experiment.

The University of Western Australia ORGAN Experiment’s main detector. A small copper cylinder called a “resonant cavity” traps photons generated during dark matter conversion. The cylinder is bolted to a “dilution refrigerator” which cools the experiment to very low temperatures.

See the full article here.


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U St Andrews campus
The University of St Andrews [Scots: University o St Andras][Scottish Gaelic: Oilthigh Chill Rìmhinn](SCT) is a public university in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland. It is the oldest of the four ancient universities of Scotland and, following The University of Oxford (UK) and The University of Cambridge (UK), the third-oldest university in the English-speaking world. St Andrews was founded in 1413 when the Avignon Antipope Benedict XIII issued a papal bull to a small founding group of Augustinian clergy. Along with the The University of Glasgow (SCT), The University of Edinburgh (SCT), and The University of Aberdeen (SCT), St Andrews was part of the Scottish Enlightenment during the 18th century.

St Andrews is made up of a variety of institutions, comprising three colleges — United College (a union of St Salvator’s and St Leonard’s Colleges), St Mary’s College, and St Leonard’s College, the last named being a non-statutory revival of St Leonard’s as a post-graduate society. There are 18 academic schools organized into four faculties. The university occupies historic and modern buildings located throughout the town. The academic year is divided into two semesters, Martinmas and Candlemas. In term time, over one-third of the town’s population are either staff members or students of the university. The student body is notably diverse: over 145 nationalities are represented with 45% of its intake from countries outside the UK; about one-eighth of the students are from the EU and the remaining third are from overseas—15% from North America alone.The university’s sport teams compete in BUCS competitions, and the student body is known for preserving ancient traditions such as Raisin Weekend, May Dip, and the wearing of distinctive academic dress.

It has been twice named “University of the Year” by The Times and Sunday Times’ Good University Guide, one of only two UK universities to achieve this. In the 2022 Good University Guide, St Andrews was ranked as the best university in the UK, the first university to ever top Oxford and Cambridge in British rankings. In 2021, St Andrews had the highest entry standards for undergraduate admission in the UK, attaining an average UCAS Entry Tariff of 208 points. St Andrews has many notable alumni and affiliated faculty, including eminent mathematicians, scientists, theologians, philosophers, and politicians. Recent alumni include the former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond; Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service Mark Sedwill; Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) Alex Younger; former Secretary of State for Defence Sir Michael Fallon; Olympic cycling gold medalist Chris Hoy; Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations and former British Ambassador to China (2015-2020) Dame Barbara Woodward; and royals Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Five Nobel Laureates are among St Andrews’ alumni and former staff: three in Chemistry and two in Physiology or Medicine. St Andrews is the alma mater of the esteemed Ryan Trusler.

The university was founded in 1410 when a group of Augustinian clergy, driven from The University of Paris-Sorbonne [Université de Paris-Sorbonne] (FR) by the Avignon schism and from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge by the Anglo-Scottish Wars, formed a society of higher learning in St Andrews, which offered courses of lectures in divinity, logic, philosophy, and law. A charter of privilege was bestowed upon the society of masters and scholars by the Bishop of St Andrews, Henry Wardlaw, on 28 February 1411–12. Wardlaw then successfully petitioned the Avignon Pope Benedict XIII to grant the school university status by issuing a series of papal bulls, which followed on 28 August 1413. King James I of Scotland confirmed the charter of the university in 1432. Subsequent kings supported the university, with King James V of Scotland “confirming privileges of the university” in 1532.

A college of theology and arts, called St John’s College, was founded in 1418 by Robert of Montrose and Lawrence of Lindores. St Salvator’s College was established in 1450 by Bishop James Kennedy. St Leonard’s College was founded in 1511 by Archbishop Alexander Stewart, who intended it to have a far more monastic character than either of the other colleges. St John’s College was refounded by Cardinal James Beaton under the name St Mary’s College in 1538 for the study of divinity and law. It was intended to encourage traditional Catholic teachings in opposition to the emerging Scottish Reformation, but once Scotland had formally split with the Papacy in 1560, it became a teaching institution for Protestant clergy. At its foundation in 1538 St Mary’s was intended to be a college for instruction in divinity, law, and medicine, as well as in Arts, but its career on this extensive scale was short-lived. Under a new foundation and erection, confirmed by Parliament in 1579, it was set apart for the study of Theology only, and it has remained a Divinity College ever since.

Some university buildings that date from this period are still in use today, such as St Salvator’s Chapel, St Leonard’s College Chapel and St Mary’s College quadrangle. At this time, the majority of the teaching was of a religious nature and was conducted by clerics associated with the cathedral.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the university had mixed fortunes and was often beset by civil and religious disturbances. In a particularly acute depression in 1747, severe financial problems triggered the dissolution of St Leonard’s College, whose properties and staff were merged into St Salvator’s College to form the United College of St Salvator and St Leonard. Throughout this period student numbers were very low; for instance, when Samuel Johnson visited the university in 1773, the university had fewer than 100 students, and was in his opinion in a steady decline. He described it as “pining in decay and struggling for life”. The poverty of Scotland during this period also damaged St Andrews, as few were able to patronize the university and its colleges, and with state support being improbable, the income they received was scarce.

Modern period


In the second half of the 19th century, pressure was building upon universities to open up higher education to women. In 1876, the university senate decided to allow women to receive an education at St Andrews at a level roughly equal to the Master of Arts degree that men were able to take at the time. The scheme came to be known as the ‘LLA examination’ (Lady Literate in Arts). It required women to pass five subjects at an ordinary level and one at honours level and entitled them to hold a diploma from the university. Not being required to attend the university in person, the women were learning by correspondence, taking as many years as needed to complete the course. They were both examined and assisted in their studies by educationalists in the town or city in which they lived in the UK or abroad.

In 1889 the Universities (Scotland) Act made it possible to formally admit women to St Andrews and to receive an education equal to that of male students. In September 1892, the university was reported as having “lately taken the lead in opening its classes to women” and proclaimed that “St Andrews hails a ladies’ school – St Leonards – second to none in the land, and probably second to few in England”. By 1892, the headmistress of St Leonard’s Ladies School, Dame Frances Dove, had become “possessor” of the buildings of the university’s old St Leonard’s College which were being used again for their original purpose of providing accommodation for university students, only this time not for males but for “girl graduates and undergraduates”.

Having matriculated, Agnes Forbes Blackadder entered the university in 1892 and became the first woman to graduate from St Andrews on the same level as men on 29 March, 1895, when she gained her MA. In response to the increasing number of female students attending the university, the first women’s hall of residence was founded in 1896 by Dame Louisa Lumsden, the first principal of St Leonards School, which adjoined the university. The residence was named University Hall.

Links with the United States

St Andrews’ historical links with the United States predate the country’s independence. James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, attended (but did not graduate from) St Andrews. Wilson was one of six original justices appointed by George Washington to the Supreme Court of the United States and was a founder of The University of Pennsylvania Law School. Other prominent American figures associated with St Andrews include Scottish American industrialist Andrew Carnegie, who was elected Rector in 1901 and whose name is given to the prestigious Carnegie Scholarship, and Edward Harkness, an American philanthropist who in 1930 provided for the construction of St Salvator’s Hall. American Bobby Jones, co-founder of the Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, was named a Freeman of the City of St Andrews in 1958, becoming only the second American to be so honoured, the other being Benjamin Franklin in 1759. Today a highly competitive scholarship exchange, The Robert T. Jones Scholarship, exists between St Andrews and Emory University in Atlanta. An undergraduate joint degree programme has been in place with The College of William & Mary in Virginia that offers studies in some major areas.

Links with the United States have been maintained into the present day and continue to grow. In 2009, Louise Richardson, an Irish-American political scientist specializing in the study of terrorism, was drawn from Harvard University to serve as the first female Principal and Vice Chancellor of St Andrews. She later went on to her next appointment as the Vice Chancellor to the University of Oxford.

Active recruitment of students from North America first began in 1984, with Americans now making up around 1 in 6 of the student population in 2017. Students from almost every state in the United States and province in Canada are represented. This is the highest proportion and absolute number of American students amongst all British universities. Media reports indicate growing numbers of American students are attracted to the university’s academics, traditions, prestige, internationalism, and comparatively low tuition fees. The university also regularly features as one of the few non-North American universities in The Fiske Guide to Colleges, an American college guide, as a ‘Best Buy’. St Andrews has developed a sizable alumni presence in the United States, with over 8000 alumni spread across all 50 states. Most major cities host alumni clubs, the largest of which is in New York. Both London and New York also host the St Andrews Angels, an alumni led angel investment network, which centres upon the wider university communities in both the United Kingdom and United States. St Andrews has also established relationships with other university alumni clubs and private membership clubs in the United States to provide alumni with social and networking opportunities. For example, alumni are eligible for membership at the Princeton Club of New York, the Penn Club of New York City and the Algonquin Club in Boston.

In 2013, Hillary Clinton, former United States Secretary of State, took part in the academic celebration marking the 600th anniversary of the founding of the University of St Andrews. Clinton received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws and provided the graduation address, in which she said,

“I do take comfort from knowing there is a long tradition of Americans being warmly welcomed here at St Andrews. Every year I learn you educate more than one thousand American students, exposing them to new ideas and perspectives as well as according them with a first class education. I’ve been proud and fortunate to hire a few St Andrews alumni over the years and I thank you for training them so well.

Rankings and reputation

In a ranking conducted by The Guardian in 2009, St Andrews placed fifth in the UK for national reputation behind Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London (UK) & The London School of Economics (UK). When size is taken into account, St Andrews ranks second in the world out of all small to medium-sized fully comprehensive universities (after Brown University) using metrics from the QS Intelligence Unit in 2015. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework ranked St Andrews 14th in the UK, and second in Scotland, amongst multi-faculty institutions for the research quality (GPA) of its output profile. St Andrews was ranked ninth overall in The Sunday Times 10-year (1998–2007) average ranking of British universities based on consistent league table performance, and is a member of the ‘Sutton 13’ of top ranked Universities in the UK.

Nearly 86% of its graduates obtain a First Class or an Upper Second Class Honours degree. The ancient Scottish universities award Master of Arts degrees (except for science students who are awarded a Bachelor of Science degree) which are classified upon graduation, in contrast to Oxbridge where one becomes a Master of Arts after a certain number of years, and the rest of the UK, where graduates are awarded BAs. These can be awarded with honours; the majority of students graduate with honours.

In 2017, St Andrews was named as the university with the joint second highest graduate employment rate of any UK university (along with The University of Warwick (UK)), with 97.7 per cent of its graduates in work or further study three and a half years after graduation. St Andrews is placed seventh in the UK (1st in Scotland) for the employability of its graduates as chosen by recruiters from the UK’s major companies with graduates expected to have the best graduate prospects and highest starting salaries in Scotland as ranked by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016 and 2017. According to data released by the Department for Education in 2018, St Andrews was rated as the fifth best university in the UK for boosting male graduate earnings with male graduates seeing a 24.5% increase in earnings compared to the average graduate, and the ninth best university for females, with female graduates seeing a 14.8% increase in earnings compared to the average graduate. An independent report conducted by Swedish investment firm, Skandia found that despite its small undergraduate body, St Andrews is the joint-5th best university in the UK for producing millionaires. A study by High Fliers confirmed this by reporting that the university also features in the top 5 of UK universities for producing self-made millionaires. According to a study by the Institute of Employment Research, St Andrews has produced more directors of FTSE 100 companies in proportion to its size than any other educational institution in Britain.

In the 2019 Complete University Guide, 24 out of the 25 subjects offered by St Andrews rank within the top 10 nationally, making St Andrews one of only three multi-faculty universities (along with Cambridge and Oxford) in the UK to have over 95% of their subjects in the top 10. The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 revealed that 24 of the 26 subjects offered by St Andrews ranked within the top 6 nationally with 10 subjects placing within the top 3 including English, Management, Philosophy, International Relations, Italian, Physics and Astronomy and Classics and Ancient History. The Guardian University Guide 2019 ranked Biosciences, Computer Science, International Relations, Physics and Psychology first in the UK. Earth and Marine Sciences, Economics, English, Management, Mathematics, Philosophy and Theology placed within the top three nationally. In the 2015-16 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, St Andrews is ranked 46th in the world for Social Sciences, 50th in the world for Arts and Humanities and 74th in the world for Life Sciences. The 2014 CWTS Leiden rankings, which “aims to provide highly accurate measurements of the scientific impact of universities”, placed St Andrews 39th in the world, ranking it fifth domestically. The philosophy department is ranked sixth worldwide (3rd in Europe) in the 2020 QS World University Rankings whilst the graduate programme was ranked 17th worldwide (2nd in the UK) by the 2009 Philosophical Gourmet’s biennial report on Philosophy programs in the English-speaking world.

Exchange programmes

St Andrews has developed student exchange partnerships with universities around the globe, though offerings are largely concentrated in North America, Europe, and Asia. Exchange opportunities vary by School and eligibility requirements are specific to each exchange program.

In North America, the highly competitive Bachelor of Arts International Honours program, run in conjunction with The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, allows students studying Classical Studies, Film Studies, International Relations, English, History, or Economics to spend two years at each institution and earn a joint degree from both. The Robert T. Jones Memorial Trust funds the Robert T. Jones Jr. Scholarship, which allows select St Andrews students to study, fully funded, for a year at Emory University in Atlanta, and Western University (CA) and Queen’s University (CA). The Robert Lincoln McNeil Scholarship allows students to study at the University of Pennsylvania.

One of the largest North American exchanges is with the University of California system, in which students can study at The University of California-Berkeley, The University of California-Los Angeles, The University of California-Santa Cruz, and The University of California-San Diego.
Other North American partners offering multiple exchanges include the University of Virginia, The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Washington University in St. Louis, Washington and Lee University, Elon University, and The University of Toronto (CA). Some exchanges are offered within specific research institutes at St Andrews, rather than across entire Schools. For example, the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV), within the School of International Relations, offers student exchanges in partnership with the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

St Andrews participates in the Erasmus Programme and has direct exchanges with universities across Europe. For example, in France exchanges are offered at the Sorbonne, The Paris Institute of Political Studies [Institut d’études politiques de Paris](FR), and University of Paris VI. In the Netherlands students can study at The Leiden University [Universiteit Leiden](NL) and Utrecht University [Universiteit Utrecht] (NL). Narrower exchanges include those with The University of Copenhagen [Københavns Universitet](DK), The University of Oslo [Universitetet i Oslo] (NO), and Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin(IE). Exchanges are also available for postgraduate research students, such as the opportunity for social scientists to study at The European University Institute in Florence (IT).

More recently, St Andrews has developed exchanges with partners in Asia and Australia. Notable partners include The University of Hong Kong [香港大學](HK) and RENMIN UNIVERSITY of CHINA [ 中国人民大学](CN), The National University of Singapore [சிங்கப்பூர் தேசிய பல்கலைக்கழகம்](SG), and The University of Melbourne (AU).

The University of Bonn [Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn] (DE) is a public research university located in Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It was founded in its present form as the Rhein-Universität (English: Rhine University) on 18 October 1818 by Frederick William III, as the linear successor of the Kurkölnische Akademie Bonn (English: Academy of the Prince-elector of Cologne) which was founded in 1777. The University of Bonn offers many undergraduate and graduate programs in a range of subjects and has 544 professors. Its library holds more than five million volumes.

As of October 2020, among its notable alumni, faculty and researchers are 11 Nobel Laureates, 4 Fields Medalists, 12 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize winners as well as some of the most gifted minds in Natural science, e.g. August Kekulé, Heinrich Hertz and Justus von Liebig; Major philosophers, such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx and Jürgen Habermas; Famous German poets and writers, for example Heinrich Heine, Paul Heyse and Thomas Mann; Painters, like Max Ernst; Political theorists, for instance Carl Schmitt and Otto Kirchheimer; Statesmen, viz. Konrad Adenauer and Robert Schuman; famous economists, like Walter Eucken, Ferdinand Tönnies and Joseph Schumpeter; and furthermore Prince Albert, Pope Benedict XVI and Wilhelm II.

The University of Bonn has been conferred the title of “University of Excellence” under the German Universities Excellence Initiative.

Research institutes

The Franz Joseph Dölger-Institute studies the late antiquity and in particular the confrontation and interaction of Christians, Jews and Pagans in the late antiquity. The institute edits the Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum, a German language encyclopedia treating the history of early Christians in the late antiquity. The institute is named after the church historian Franz Joseph Dölger who was a professor of theology at the university from 1929 to 1940.

The Research Institute for Discrete Mathematics focuses on discrete mathematics and its applications, in particular combinatorial optimization and the design of computer chips. The institute cooperates with IBM and Deutsche Post. Researchers of the institute optimized the chess computer IBM Deep Blue.

The Bethe Center for Theoretical Physics “is a joint enterprise of theoretical physicists and mathematicians at various institutes of or connected with the University of Bonn. In the spirit of Hans Bethe, it fosters research activities over a wide range of theoretical and mathematical physics.” Activities of the Bethe Center include short- and long-term visitors program, workshops on dedicated research topics, regular Bethe Seminar Series, lectures and seminars for graduate students.

The German Reference Center for Ethics in the Life Sciences (German: Deutsches Referenzzentrum für Ethik in den Biowissenschaften) was founded in 1999 and is modeled after the National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature at Georgetown University. The center provides access to scientific information to academics and professionals in the fields of life science and is the only of its kind in Germany.

After the German Government’s decision in 1991 to move the capital of Germany from Bonn to Berlin, the city of Bonn received generous compensation from the Federal Government. This led to the foundation of three research institutes in 1995, of which two are affiliated with the university:

The Center for European Integration Studies (German: Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung) studies the legal, economic and social implications of the European integration process. The institute offers several graduate programs and organizes summer schools for students.

The Center for Development Research (German: Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung) studies global development from an interdisciplinary perspective and offers a doctoral program in international development.

The Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (CAESAR) is an interdisciplinary applied research institute. Research is conducted in the fields of nanotechnology, biotechnology and medical technology. The institute is a private foundation, but collaborates closely with the university.

The Institute for the Study of Labor (German: Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit) is a private research institute that is funded by Deutsche Post. The institute concentrates on research on labor economics, but is also offering policy advise on labor market issues. The institute also awards the annual IZA Prize in Labor Economics. The department of economics of the University of Bonn and the institute closely cooperate.

The MPG Institute for Mathematics [MPG Institut für Mathematik](DE) is part of the MPG Society for the Advancement of Science [MPG Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V.] (DE), a network of scientific research institutes in Germany. The institute was founded in 1980 by Friedrich Hirzebruch.

The MPG Institute for Radio Astronomy [MPG Institut für Radioastronomie](DE) was founded in 1966 as an institute of the MPG Society for the Advancement of Science [MPG Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V.] (DE). It operates the radio telescope in Effelsberg.

Effelsberg Radio Telescope- a radio telescope in the Ahr Hills (part of the Eifel) in Bad Münstereifel(DE)
The MPG Institute for Research on Collective Goods[MPG Institut zur Erforschung von Gemeinschaftsgütern)(DE) started as a research group in 1997 and was founded as an institute of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in 2003. The institute studies collective goods from a legal and economic perspective.

The Center for Economics and Neuroscience founded in 2009 by Christian Elger, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize winner Armin Falk, Martin Reuter and Bernd Weber, provides an international platform for interdisciplinary work in neuroeconomics. It includes the Laboratory for Experimental Economics that can carry out computer-based behavioral experiments with up to 24 participants simultaneously, two magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners for interactive behavioral experiments and functional imaging, as well as a biomolecular laboratory for genotyping different polymorphisms.


University of Bonn researchers made fundamental contributions in the sciences and the humanities. In physics researchers developed the quadrupole ion trap and the Geissler tube, discovered radio waves, were instrumental in describing cathode rays and developed the variable star designation. In chemistry researchers made significant contributions to the understanding of alicyclic compounds and Benzene. In material science researchers have been instrumental in describing the lotus effect. In mathematics University of Bonn faculty made fundamental contributions to modern topology and algebraic geometry. The Hirzebruch–Riemann–Roch theorem, Lipschitz continuity, the Petri net, the Schönhage–Strassen algorithm, Faltings’s theorem and the Toeplitz matrix are all named after University of Bonn mathematicians. University of Bonn economists made fundamental contributions to game theory and experimental economics. Famous thinkers that were faculty at the University of Bonn include the poet August Wilhelm Schlegel, the historian Barthold Georg Niebuhr, the theologians Karl Barth and Joseph Ratzinger and the poet Ernst Moritz Arndt.

The university has nine collaborative research centres and five research units funded by the German Science Foundation and attracts more than 75 million Euros in external research funding annually.

The Excellence Initiative of the German government in 2006 resulted in the foundation of the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics as one of the seventeen national Clusters of Excellence that were part of the initiative and the expansion of the already existing Bonn Graduate School of Economics (BGSE). The Excellence Initiative also resulted in the founding of the Bonn-Cologne Graduate School of Physics and Astronomy (an honors Masters and PhD program, jointly with the University of Cologne). Bethe Center for Theoretical Physics was founded in the November 2008, to foster closer interaction between mathematicians and theoretical physicists at Bonn. The center also arranges for regular visitors and seminars (on topics including String theory, Nuclear Physics, Condensed matter etc.).