João Magueijo

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João Magueijo
Born 1967
Évora, Portugal
Citizenship Portuguese
Fields Physicist
Institutions Imperial College
Alma mater University of Lisbon, Cambridge University
Doctoral advisor Anne-Christine Davis
Doctoral students Carlo Contaldi, Rachel Bean, Kate Land
João Magueijo at the journée de la Science at the EPFL, 11 November 2005

João Magueijo (born 1967) is a Portuguese cosmologist and professor in Theoretical Physics at Imperial College London. He is a pioneer of the varying speed of light (VSL) theory.

Education and career[edit]

João Magueijo studied physics at the University of Lisbon. He undertook graduate work and Ph.D. at Cambridge University. He was awarded a research fellowship at St John's College, Cambridge, the same fellowship previously held by Paul Dirac and Abdus Salam. He has been a faculty member at Princeton and Cambridge, and is currently a professor at Imperial College London where he teaches undergraduates General Relativity and postgraduates Advanced General Relativity.

In 1998, Magueijo teamed with Andreas Albrecht to work on the varying speed of light (VSL) theory of cosmology, which proposes that the speed of light was up to 3×1030 km/s in the early universe. This would explain the horizon problem (since distant regions of the expanding universe would have had time to interact and homogenize their properties), and is presented as an alternative to the more mainstream theory of cosmic inflation.

Magueijo discusses his personal struggles pursuing VSL in his 2003 book, Faster Than The Speed of Light, The Story of a Scientific Speculation. He was associated with a misunderstanding over priority concerning VSL with John Moffat. He was also the host of the Science Channel special João Magueijo's Big Bang,[1] which premiered on May 13, 2008.

In 2009, he published A Brilliant Darkness, an account of the life and science of vanished physicist Ettore Majorana.

Axis of Evil[edit]

The term 'Axis of Evil' has become associated with João Magueijo. Professor Speransky of Lomonosov State University in Moscow states:

It is he who first found out that the 'cold' and 'warm' areas of the metagalaxy happened to be lying in the sky in a somewhat organized way. A computer simulation proved that the above distribution of fluctuations could occur only in case of a considerably smaller-sized universe.[2]

See also[edit]


  • A Brilliant Darkness: The Extraordinary Life and Disappearance of Ettore Majorana, the Troubled Genius of the Nuclear Age, Basic Books, 2009/2010, ISBN 978-0-465-00903-9
  • Faster than the Speed of Light: The Story of a Scientific Speculation, Basic Books, 2003, ISBN 978-07382-0525-0


External links[edit]