Graduate donates £3.35million to help build Durham University’s new physics centre

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PLANS to create a new £10million landmark building to house Durham University’s world-renowned physics centre have taken another vital step forward.

Former student Sir Peter Ogden, chairman of The Ogden Trust, attended a ceremony yesterday to finalise a £3.35million donation towards the development, which will be in South Road in the city.

The gift is the largest single donation in The Ogden Trust’s history and the signing comes at the same time that the university has been named by Thomson-Reuters as number one in Europe and joint-sixth in the world for research citations in Space Science.

Entrepreneur Sir Peter has been a long-time supporter of physics research at Durham University while his trust promotes the teaching and learning of the subject to schoolchildren as well as undergraduates who want to teach physics.

Sir Peter, who graduated from Durham in 1968 with a degree in Physics and a PhD in Theoretical Physics in 1971, lends his name to the original Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics, which opened in 2002 after being built following an earlier £2million gift from The Ogden Trust.

Sir Peter said: “This is the largest single donation in The Ogden Trust’s history, which indicates the importance of the relationship which it has developed with Durham University’s Department of Physics over the last decade.

“It is also testament to the depth and strength of the research into Fundamental Physics at Durham led by Professor Carlos Frenk and his colleagues.

“This new building and its facilities will attract the best students and researchers in cosmology and particle physics phenomenology from all over the world, and will enable Durham to lead international developments in these fields.”

The current centre houses two institutes, the Institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC), one of the world’s premier theoretical cosmology groups, and the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology (IPPP), the only one of its kind in the world.

Professor Carlos Frenk, Ogden Professor of Fundamental Physics and director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology, said: “The two Ogden Centre institutes tackle some of the most exciting questions in modern science such as how did our Universe begin; what is it made of; and what is its future?

“The new building is just what we need to ensure Durham stays at the forefront of this exciting science.”