Weighing the Universe

Posted on Apr 17, 2020 in Outreach, Public lecture, Science, universe

A public lecture given on Nov 4th 2019 as Visiting Professor of Cosmology at Gresham College, London. Part of a three lecture series in 2019-2020 on “The Nature of Reality”. Surely you can’t “weigh” the Universe?!  Let us begin by clarifying the title of this lecture: “weighing” is not quite the right word. In fact, […]

Multi-Sensory Cosmology

Multi-Sensory Cosmology (In collaboration with computer-human interaction expert Prof Marianna Obrist and her team at SCHI Lab at the University of Sussex) Much of our scientific knowledge is transmitted via intellectual means, based on abstract concepts and gained through reading and other mostly visual means. This modality of transmission can be hard to engage with […]

Today on the arXiv: how to measure the intrinsic CMB dipole, and radio emission from DM in the Coma cluster

Posted on Oct 6, 2016 in astro-ph, Research, Science

Elena Pierpaoli and her collaborator Slavash Yasini come up with a clever way of measuring the intrinsic CMB dipole, and disentangling it from the much bigger dipole induced by the Earth motion with respect to the CMB rest frame. The key idea is that leakage of the intrinsic dipole into the monopole and quadrupole induces […]

Today on the ArXiv: How to ride a light beam to the stars, and how not to analyse distance indicators

Posted on Oct 3, 2016 in astro-ph, News, Research, Science

Today on the arXiv, a nice analysis of how to design a solar sail in such a way that the light beam powering it is prevented from rocking it side to side, and hence destabilising it. The key idea is to use a spherical sail (rather than conical designs as previously proposed) and a multi-modal laser […]

Today on the arXiv: Prospector-alpha opens the way to high-accuracy photometry-based estimation of galactic properties

Posted on Sep 30, 2016 in astro-ph, Research, Science, universe

There is a terrific paper on today’s arXiv: The Prospector-alpha code is an impressive new approach to estimating a large number of important physical parameters of galaxies, including indicators for the galaxy’s star formation history, its metallicity, its mass and dust content. The code contains a large number of free physical parameters (describing star formation […]

Why Society Needs Astronomy and Cosmology: a Gresham College Guest Lecture

This is the text accompanying a Gresham College Guest Lecture I gave on March 15th 2016. Audio recording of the lecture: Video of the lecture available here “One day, Sir, you may tax it!” In 1850 the Chancellor of the Exchequer, William Gladstone, reportedly visited Michael Faraday’s laboratory at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. […]

g-ASTRONOMY: The cosmos at the tip of your tongue

Posted on Sep 20, 2016 in g-ASTRONOMY, Outreach, Public lecture, Science, universe

Astrophysics provides us with an exciting, engaging way to talk about the science of the cosmos and its importance for society. Posted on the IOP blog on Sept 20th 2016 Interest for astronomy and astrophysics is also one of the most-often cited reasons by students taking up physics at undergraduate level. But by its nature […]

Does being on Twitter make you a worse scientist? Yes… a bit.

Posted on Sep 19, 2014 in Bayes, Science, Social Media

I was intrigued by this claim, found in a Twitter survey of the “Top 50 Science Stars on Twitter” that “most high-performing scientists have not embraced Twitter”. That article is debatable on other grounds, as well, in particular in terms of what defines a “Top Scientist” on Twitter. In fact, on closer inspection, the data on […]