I’m a theoretical cosmologist in the Astrophysics Group of Imperial College London, where I am a Reader in Astrophysics (equivalent to Associate Professor in the US), and the Director of Imperial’s Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication.
I am an STFC Public Engagement Fellow, and currently running the public engagement programme The Hands-On Universe. I am a co-founder and director at Data Fusion Consultants, offering statistical consultancy and custom-made data analysis solutions, as well as training, for a broad variety of clients. I work as a scientific consultant with museums, writers, film makers and artists, providing the help and support they need to make their artistic creations scientifically sound.
My research in cosmology is about analysing, interpreting and making sense of cosmological observations, in order to learn more about the properties and nature of dark matter and dark energy. I’m also interested in the early Universe and in developing connections between cosmology and particle physics. The goal is to learn more about the history and nature of the Universe, by using cosmology as a Universe-sized laboratory for particle and high energy physics.
As Director of the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication, I am part of Imperial’s senior management team and I provide academic lead and strategic direction for the Centre’s activities: the Imperial Horizons programme (delivering teaching in humanities subjects and languages to over 4500 undergraduates at Imperial); the Evening Classes programme; and two MSc programmes in Science Communication.
I am a science communicator and I take part in numerous public engagement with science activities, from science festivals to radio broadcasts. My first book for the public, (Basic Books) explains the Universe (‘All-There-Is’) using only the most common 1,000 words in English. For my book I was named by Foreign Policy one of the 100 Global Thinkers 2014.
I was born and grew up in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. After obtaining an MSc(Hons) in Physics from ETH Zurich and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Geneva, I moved to Oxford where I was the Lockyer Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society at Oxford University, and a Junior Fellow of St Anne’s, before being appointed at Imperial College in 2008.
Named by Foreign Policy one of the 100 Global Thinkers 2014 in the “Chroniclers” category, I am a recipient of the Lord Kelvin Award of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, of the Michelson Prize of Case Western Reserve University and of the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at Imperial College London. I won the I’m a scientist, get me out of here! competition in the Astronomy Zone in June 2014.
I am a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, a member of the Swiss Society for Astronomy and Astrophysics, a member of the International Astronomical Union, a fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a member of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis and a Next Einstein Fellow at the African Institute for Mathematical Studies in Cape Town.
I live in South West London with my wife and our two young children.
More about me in my I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here! profile.