|Institutions||University of Nottingham
|Alma mater||University of Sussex|
|Doctoral advisor||John D. Barrow|
He was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and educated at the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle. He did his first degree at Magdalene College, Cambridge, in Natural Sciences, specialising in Theoretical Physics, graduating in 1985. He then studied for his doctorate at the University of Sussex and completed his thesis in 1988.
His primary research interest is in cosmology, specifically on theoretical models that try to account for the properties of the observable universe, including the cosmic microwave background. He is the author of a number of books on this and related subjects, including a textbook, "Cosmology: the origin and evolution of cosmic structure" (ISBN 0471489093, co-authored with Francesco Lucchin).
Coles was a professor of Theoretical Astrophysics at Cardiff University from 2007 to 2013. He previously worked at the University of Nottingham, Queen Mary, University of London, and the University of Sussex.