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Did you know that our researchers have been working with colleagues at the Chinese of Academy of Sciences (CAS) for over 30 years on areas ranging from climate change to astronomy?

They have collaborated on hundreds of research papers and this deep partnership means we have been, and are continuing to, address some of the most pressing issues in society today.

Some of this work is featured in a series of webinars which brings together researchers who are outstanding in their fields of expertise to share fresh insights.

Evolution of life

One area covered in the series is the way life has been evolving on our planet for some four billion years but for most of geological time life was microbial.

Featuring leading palaeontologists, Professor David Harper from Durham University and Professor Renbin Zhan from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, the webinar looks at how major biotic events changed the direction of life on earth.

Climate change and health

The crucial area of climate change and the risks it poses to society and people’s health is also discussed in the series. We’ve seen that heat waves, wildfires and flooding have become more common and intense in recent years. 

In the webinar, climate experts Professor Tianjun Zhou from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Professor Glenn McGregor from the Department of Geography at Durham University, outline the scientific evidence for human’s influence on historical climate change and what may lie ahead.

An evolving universe

From supermassive black holes to the hunt for dark matter, our astronomers and cosmologists are world-leaders working with fellow researchers across the planet to further our understanding of the cosmos and our place in it. 

One example of this is the work by Durham Professors Carlos Frenk, Martin Ward and Chris Done, together with Dr Chichuan Jun from the National Astronomical Observatory of China at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 

Their research, discussed as part of the series, has looked at the on-going heartbeat of a supermassive black hole located 600 million light years from Earth. 

The repeated beat from this cosmic giant – created as the black hole feeds on its surroundings – was seen again in 2018 more than ten years after first being observed. 

It’s the most long-lived heartbeat ever seen in a black hole and tells us more about the size and structure close to its event horizon – the surrounding space from which nothing, including light, can escape. 

Find out more

  • Watch the webinars as part of our Knowledge Across Borders series
  • Learn more about our partnership with the Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Learn more about the global impact of our staff and students