I am a Professor of Astrophysics in the Physics Department of the University of Oxford. I am also an Emeritus fellow of Oriel College and a Supernumerary fellow of Wolfson College. I direct the Beecroft Insitute of Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology. I am also a writer. My most (not so) recent book was "The Perfect Theory: A century of Geniuses and the Battle for General Relativity.
My main field of expertise is cosmology, in particular the early universe and the large scale structure of the universe. I originally worked on the cosmic microwave background and, after that, on various types of galaxy surveys. My focus has been on trying to extract information about fundamental physics from these data sets. This has led me to explore how one might test and constrain General Relativity on large scales and, more generally, how one might test and measure some of the main ingredients of modern cosmology such as the Copernican Principle, dark energy, dark matter and inflation. Over the last few years my interests have broadened and I have worked on two different topics. I have become interested in black holes, gravitational waves and in interesting problems in General Relativity. I, inevitably, have also developed an interest in machine learning with a particular focus on methods for inferring physical laws or equations using symbolic regression.
I trained as an engineer at the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon where I almost became a mathematician. I then studied for a PhD at Imperial College London, supervised by Andy Albrecht. In 1995 I moved to Berkeley for a postdoctoral position at the Centre for Particle Astrophysics (CfPA). In 1999 I moved to Geneva and was a CERN fellow for a year before I finally settled in Oxford, at the University, with, first, a Royal Society University Research Fellowship and then a lectureship and finally, in 2008 a Professorship. Since 2016 I have been a Research Professor. From 2000 until 2016 I was also a tutorial fellow at Oriel College and since 2018 I have been a supernumerary fellow at Wolfson College.
Throughout my career I have had a few visiting positions for extended periods. I was visitor at the University of Geneva, the African Insitute of Mathematical Science in Cape Town, the Higgs visiting fellow in Edinburgh, a visitor at the Albert Einstein Insitute in Berlin, a visiting professor at Columbia University and at Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon.
I have written extensively outside academia, writing for Nature, Science, New Scientist, Physics World, Physics Today, Scientific American, Sky at Night, CERN Courier, BBC Focus, The Guardian. My most recent book, “The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity” has been published in over 20 countries and was shortlisted for the 2014 Royal Society Winton Science Book Prize.
You can find an extended CV here.
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