Professor in Physics, Durham University

A long time ago, Richard Bower grew up in a small Cornish village where the sky was dark and it was warm enough to sit outside and wonder where they came from. Today, he is Professor of Cosmology at Durham University. He works at the ICC, the Institute for Computational Cosmology, creating a virtual Universe with some of the world’s largest computers. This is clearly an almost impossible task, yet recently his simulations have taken a major step forward and are able to reproduce galaxies in the observed universe in remarkable detail.

Professor Bower’s interests span observational and theoretical studies of galaxy formation. His research time is shared between observational and theoretical cosmology. In particular, he works on the formation and evolution of galaxies and clusters of galaxies. He is fascinated by the existence of galaxies and the ways in which they formed. Why is the night sky so full of stars? What has made the different types of galaxies so different from each other? He likes to speculate about what it would be like to live in a galaxy cluster.

After graduating with a First in Physics at Oxford, he completed his PhD thesis at the University of Durham and went on hold research positions in Munich and Edinburgh before returning to Durham as a lecturer. As well as teaching courses on Cosmology and Computing, he has lectured on topics as diverse as the Physics of Motorsport and, now, on Robert Grosseteste’s 13th century vision of the creation of the Universe, “De Luce”. Professor Bower leads the Intel Parallel Computing Centre at Durham, developing SWIFT, a revolutionary new approach to high-performance computing.

Experience

  • –present
    Professor in the Department of Physics, University of Durham