Gary Gibbons

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Gary Gibbons
Gary Gibbons at Harvard University
Born Gary William Gibbons
(1946-07-01) 1 July 1946 (age 71)[1]
Alma mater
Thesis Some aspects of gravitational radiation and gravitational collapse (1973)
Doctoral advisor
Doctoral students
  • Mohammad Akbar
  • Lloyd Alty
  • Wayne Boucher
  • Marco Cariglia
  • Andrew Chamblin
  • Simon Davis
  • Steffen Gielen
  • Domenico Giulini
  • Carsten Gundlach
  • Jonathan Halliwell
  • Sean Hartnoll
  • Carlos Herdeiro
  • Gustav Holzegel
  • Christopher Hull
  • Daksh Lohiya
  • Miguel Ortiz
  • Christophe Patricot
  • Dean Rasheed
  • Peter Ruback
  • Paulina Rychenkova
  • Frederic P. Schuller
  • Clive Wells
  • Marcus C. Werner
  • David Wiltshire[2]
Known for
Notable awards

Gary William Gibbons FRS[4] (born 1 July 1946)[1] is a British theoretical physicist.[5][6]


Gibbons was born in Coulsdon, Surrey. He was educated at Purley County Grammar School[1] and the University of Cambridge, where in 1969 he became a research student under the supervision of Dennis Sciama. When Sciama moved to the University of Oxford, he became a student of Stephen Hawking, obtaining his PhD from Cambridge in 1973.[3]


Apart from a stay at the Max Planck Institute in Munich in the 1970s he has remained in Cambridge throughout his career, becoming a full professor in 1997, a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1999,[4] and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge in 2002.

Having worked on classical general relativity for his PhD thesis, Gibbons focused on the quantum theory of black holes afterwards. Together with Malcolm Perry, he used thermal Green's functions to prove the universality of thermodynamic properties of horizons, including cosmological event horizons.[7] He developed the Euclidean approach to quantum gravity with Stephen Hawking, which allows a derivation of the thermodynamics of black holes from a functional integral approach.[8] As the Euclidean action for gravity is not positive definite, the integral only converges when a particular contour is used for conformal factors.[9]

His work in more recent years includes contributions to research on supergravity, p-branes[10] and M-theory, mainly motivated by string theory. Gibbons remains interested in geometrical problems of all sorts which have applications to physics.


Gibbons was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1999. His nomination reads


  1. ^ a b c "GIBBONS, Prof. Gary William". Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014; online edn, Oxford University Press. (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Gary Gibbons at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ a b c Gibbons, Gary William (1973). Some aspects of gravitational radiation and gravitational collapse (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Library and Archive Catalogue: EC/1999/16 Gibbons, Gary William". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 7 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Gary Gibbons's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier. (subscription required)
  6. ^ Euclidean Quantum Gravity, World Scientific (Singapore, 1993); Paperback ISBN 981-02-0516-3
  7. ^ Gibbons, G. W., Hawking, S. W. (1977). "Cosmological Event Horizons, Thermodynamics, and Particle Creation". Physical Review D. 15 (10): 2738–2751. Bibcode:1977PhRvD..15.2738G. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.15.2738. 
  8. ^ Gibbons, G. W., Hawking, S. W. (1977). "Action Integrals and Partition Functions in Quantum Gravity". Physical Review D. 15 (10): 2752–2756. Bibcode:1977PhRvD..15.2752G. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.15.2752. 
  9. ^ Gibbons, G. W., Hawking, S. W., Perry, M. J. (1978). "Path Integrals and the Indefiniteness of the Gravitational Action". Nucl. Phys. B. 138 (1): 141–150. Bibcode:1978NuPhB.138..141G. doi:10.1016/0550-3213(78)90161-X. 
  10. ^ Gibbons, G. W. (1998). "Born–Infeld particles and Dirichlet p-branes". Nucl. Phys. B. 514 (3): 603–639. Bibcode:1998NuPhB.514..603G. arXiv:hep-th/9709027Freely accessible. doi:10.1016/S0550-3213(97)00795-5.