Candelas studied at Christ's College, Cambridge from 1970 and at Wadham College, Oxford, where he was a student of Dennis Sciama, from 1972, receiving his bachelor's degree in 1973. From 1975 he was a research fellow at Balliol College, Oxford, and in 1976-77 was at the University of Texas at Austin with John Archibald Wheeler. In 1977 he received his PhD from Oxford with his dissertation Quantum Gravity. He then continued at the University of Texas, where he became an assistant professor in 1977, associate professor in 1983, and full professor in 1989.
He was at the Institute for Advanced Study from 1993 to 1994, a visiting scientist at CERN from 1991 to 1993 and a visiting professor at Princeton University in 1995. He has been the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at Oxford since 1999 and is also the Head of the Mathematical Physics Group at Oxford.
Candelas is most known for his 1985 work with Edward Witten, Andrew Strominger, and Gary Horowitz in which they introduced compactification to string theory using Calabi–Yau manifolds. He also works on the geometry of Calabi-Yau manifolds and relationships with number theory and has made fundamental contributions to mirror symmetry.
Candelas is also notable for his contributions in the field of quantum field theory (QFT) especially the renormalisation of QFT near black holes. He also contributed to the understanding of the behaviour of quantum fields near boundaries, with applications to the Casimir effect and quark confinement.
Candelas has both British and United States citizenship. He is married to mathematics professor Xenia de la Ossa and has two daughters.
- Philip Candelas's CV.
- "Professor Philip Candelas FRS". Royal Society. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
- P. Candelas; Gary T. Horowitz; Andrew Strominger; Edward Witten (1985), "Vacuum configurations for superstrings", Nuclear Physics B, 258: 46–74, doi:10.1016/0550-3213(85)90602-9
- "Professor Philip Candela". Mathematical Institute – University of Oxford. Retrieved 2013-02-15.