After doing a BSc and MSc in Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town (UCT) I went to SISSA in Trieste for the PhD, followed by a post-doc at Oxford and a year later, in 1999, moved as a senior lecturer to what became the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at Portsmouth University. After a few years I took a wonderful sabbatical at Kyoto University and then returned to Cape Town to a joint position between the South African Astronomical Observatory and the Mathematics and Applied Mathematics Department at UCT where I am a Full Professor. Since the middle of 2010, I am also jointly in the AIMS research centre as a senior researcher helping to establish cosmology at the research centre.
What inspired you to study science, and astrophysics?
A book by James Jeans on the Philosophy of Science that I read in High School was pivotal in interesting me in physics, but I was lucky to grow up in a family environment where science, art and music were always in the air.
Do you have a role model in science?
My PhD advisor, Dennis Sciama, who was a wonderful person. Being around him was always a pleasure. His supervision style might be described as ‘magic without magic’ and among the many things I learned from him was the importance of networks and networking, something which we are definitely cultivating at the Research Centre.
A quote that inspires you?
“It will be hard at first. But everything is hard at first”
— Miyamoto Musashi
Why is the universe like it is?
- Theoretical and Observational Cosmology
- Artificial intelligence and heuristic optimisation
- How people learn
Favourite reference papers: