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Professor of Astrophysics and Director of the Big Questions Institute at UNSW, UNSW Sydney

I was born in London and moved to Australia in 1991. My main research interest is Cosmology. In particular for the last few years, I have worked on whether the laws of Nature vary in space or time. My colleagues and I began our work in this area in 1998 and in 1999 we published the first hints that alpha, the fine structure constant, might not be constant. Alpha represents the strength of the electromagnetic force. Following that we have published many papers on the subject, and recently, we have used a large amount of data from the Keck and VLT telescopes to look into the matter in more detail. We have found that the data suggests that alpha varies smoothly with position in the sky, and that the data fit a dipole model, i.e. in one direction alpha increases, and in the opposite direction it decreases.


  • 2016–present
    Professor of Astrophysics, Clare Hall, Cambridge
  • 1991–2020
    Professor of Astrophysics, University of New South Wales
  • 1989–1991
    Senior Research Fellow, Royal Greenwich Observatory
  • 1987–1989
    Research Fellow, University of Leiden, The Netherlands


  • 1986 
    University of Cambridge, PhD in Astrophysics
  • 1981 
    University of Surrey, BSc Hons in Chemical Physics