Peter Coles

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Peter Coles
Residence UK
Nationality British
Alma mater University of Sussex
Known for Cosmology
Scientific career
Fields Physicist
Institutions University of Nottingham
Cardiff University
Doctoral advisor John D. Barrow

Peter Coles is a theoretical cosmologist at Cardiff University. He was formerly the head of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex.

Early life and education[edit]

He was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and educated at the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle.[1]

He did his first degree at Magdalene College, Cambridge, in Natural Sciences, specialising in Theoretical Physics.[2] In 1985[3] he started studying for his doctorate at the University of Sussex, supervised by John D. Barrow, and completed his DPhil thesis in 1988.[2]

He enjoys a wide range of music, especially classical and jazz and he listens to Radio 3,[citation needed] but he does not like the sound produced by harpsichords.[4]


During 1988 and 1990 he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Sussex, before moving to the mathematics department of the Queen Mary & Westfield College, University of London, where he worked from 1990 until 1999,[2] first as a temporary lecturer, then as a PPARC Advanced Fellow from 1993 to 1998, becoming Lecturer-in-waiting in 1994 and Reader-in-waiting in 1997.[3] He then worked at the University of Nottingham between 1999 and 2007[2] as a Professor of Astrophysics, where he set up a new group in astronomy.[3]

Coles was a Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics at Cardiff University from 2007 to 2013, and was the Deputy Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy.[2]

In February 2013 he became the Head of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex.[2] He left the University of Sussex in 2016 to return to Cardiff to hold a joint position with the School of Physics and Astronomy and the Data Innovation Research Institute.[3]

He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and of the Institute of Physics.[5] He has served on the Council of the Royal Astronomical Society.[6]

He currently resides in Cardiff. Among the places he has previously lived in are Brighton, Beeston in Nottinghamshire and Bethnal Green in London.[7][8][9][10]


His primary research interest is in cosmology and the large-scale structure of the Universe,[2] specifically on theoretical models that try to account for the properties of the observable universe, including the cosmic microwave background and galaxy clusters. He also researches cosmological models that feature magnetic fields, Non-Gaussianity and asymmetries,[3] as well as the application of probability and statistics in astronomy and physics.[2]

He has taught undergraduate courses in mathematics, statistics, and astronomy.[2] Along with Francesco Lucchin he wrote a textbook on "Cosmology: the origin and evolution of cosmic structure" (ISBN 978-0-471-48909-2), and a second edition of it was published by John Wiley & Sons in July 2002.[11]

He has a blog named In the Dark, where he writes under the name Telescoper, covering a range of topics including astronomy, science funding, opera, jazz, rugby and crosswords. In 1999 it was one of "Five great physics blogs" listed by the Daily Telegraph.[12]


  1. ^ Coles, Peter (26 October 2008). "A Friend of Dorothy". In The Dark. Wordpress. Retrieved 28 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "New Head of Mathematical and Physical Sciences appointed". The University of Sussex. 16 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Prof Peter Coles". University of Cardiff. Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  4. ^ "Wikipedia Update". In the Dark. 18 March 2017. 
  5. ^ Coles, Peter (13 June 2013). "Hawking at BAFTA". In The Dark. Wordpress. Retrieved 28 March 2017.  (About Fellowship of the Institute of Physics.)
  6. ^ "Election results: new President and Council". Royal Astronomical Society. 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2017. 
  7. ^ Coles, Peter (10 January 2017). "The "Pont" in Pontcanna". In The Dark. Wordpress. Retrieved 28 March 2017.  (About residence in Cardiff.)
  8. ^ Coles, Peter (30 October 2008). "In the Dark". In The Dark. Wordpress. Retrieved 28 March 2017.  (About residence near Nottingham.)
  9. ^ Coles, Peter (5 August 2016). "Last Day in Brighton". In The Dark. Wordpress. Retrieved 28 March 2017.  (About residence in Brighton.)
  10. ^ Coles, Peter (23 March 2017). "London looking back". In The Dark. Wordpress. Retrieved 28 March 2017.  (About residence in Bethnal Green, London.)
  11. ^ "Cosmology: The Origin and Evolution of Cosmic Structure, 2nd Edition". Wiley]]accessdate=19 March 2017. 
  12. ^ "Five great physics blogs". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. 

External links[edit]