Want to simulate some other universes with me? Looking for life in a (simulated) cosmos? Desperate to test some multiverse theories? You too could make classy videos like this!

Using supercomputer simulations of galaxy formation, we will investigate the effect of fundamental cosmological parameters on structure in the universe. We will model the formation of galaxies in lumpier and smoother sub-universes, and universes with different amounts of dark matter. Our group has previously explored the effect of the cosmological constant (arxiv.org/abs/1801.08781), and will extend and expand this approach, working with a world-leading galaxy formation code.

What does the scholarship provide?

  • Domestic students will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000 per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs. Tuition fees will be supported by the Research Training Program (RTP) Fees Offset.
  • International students will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000 per annum to support living costs. Those with a strong track record will be eligible for a tuition fee waiver.
  • All international students are required to hold an Overseas Student Health Care (OSHC) policy covering the duration of study, with the scholarship including funding for Single cover.
  • Support for conference attendance, travel and additional costs as approved by the School.

For eligibility conditions, and to apply, see the details here.

Applications close on October 14.

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I’ve got a few talks upcoming in Sydney. Come and see the show!

2 August 2018, Sutherland Astronomical Society

Title: Following Light to the Beginning of the Universe
Time: 7:30pm – 9:30pm
Location: Green Point Observatory, Oyster Bay
Free. (I think. Maybe a gold coin for tea and coffee). More details here.

Abstract: How do we know what the Universe is made of? And what shapes its parts into the stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies that we see around us? Starting from the very early universe, I’ll discuss how the fundamental factors of our universe, its forces, particles, and the dynamical stage that they tread (space time), compete and cooperate to fashion the Universe today.

5 August 2018, St Mark’s Darling Point

Title: The Big Questions – Science and God
Time: 8am, 10am and 5:30pm
Location: 1 Greenoaks Ave, Darling Point NSW 2027
More details here.

10 August 2018, The Australian Botanic Garden (Mount Annan)

Event: Stars over the Garden

Come and enjoy the beautiful Garden under a starry sky! You will learn about Western and Aboriginal views of the night sky.

Dr Luke Barnes, astronomer at Western Sydney University will introduce you to the night sky over Mount Annan and the Macarthur Astronomical Society will bring out their telescopes so you can experience the best views. Our Aboriginal educators from Shared Knowledge will share their dreamtime stories about Australian sky and talk about how the visibility of certain star signs influences their lives.

If the weather permits you will have the opportunity to watch the stars and planets close up through the telescopes. A glass of wine will round up an amazing night experience.

Time: 4.45 pm-6.15 pm
Location: Narellan Road, Mount Annan 2567
Cost: $29.00 per person / Garden member $25.00. No walk-ins. Tickets must be purchased in advance here.

13 August 2018, St. Luke’s Clovelly

Title: The Big Questions – Science and God
Time: 7.45 for snacks, 8pm start
Location: Corner Arden St and Varna St, Clovelly (location)
More details here.

17 August 2018, Centennial Park

Event: Astronomy in the Park

Immerse yourself into a night of stargazing. Looking up we see the bright and the dark – explained by our scientists of the Sydney Observatory, and by our aboriginal educator who will share his stories about the sky with us. At our telescope station, you will have the chance to observe the sky and ask our scientists about the phenomena you discover.

Once you and your group have discovered the sky and the park, we will wind up the evening at a campfire where you can relax, reflect the stories you heard, and enjoy a night in the park under the stars.

Time: 5pm-7pm
Location: Wild Play Discovery Centre, Dickens Drive, Centennial Park
Cost: $29.00 adults / Children $15.00. Find more details and purchase tickets here.

21 August 2018, Narrabeen Baptist

Title: The Big Questions – Science and God
Time: 7:30pm – 9pm
Location: 13 Grenfell Ave, North Narrabeen (location)
More details here.

I’ll be speaking at St Hilary’s in Melbourne tomorrow, on the topic of the fine-tuning of the universe for life. It’s free!

Time: 8pm-9:30pm, 29th May, 2018
Location: 12 John St, Kew Victoria
More details here.

My most recent paper with Pascal Elahi (UWA), Jaime Salcido (Durham), Richard Bower (Durham) and Geraint Lewis (Sydney), as part of the Eagle Collaboration, is doing the rounds of the popular press. I’ll post some of the articles here, and keep updating. Check out the video!

I did this research (mostly) while at Sydney University, but I’ve started a new position at Western Sydney University – more details soon.

  1. Sydney Morning Herald: Bad news for the multiverse: it’s still not likely Also, the Canberra Times and The Age (Melbourne).
  2. Cosmos Magazine: Multiverse theory cops a blow after dark energy findings
  3. IFLS: If A Multiverse Exists It Could Abound With Life
  4. Newsweek: What Is The Multiverse? Parallel Universes Could Be Hospitable To Life, Scientists Say
  5. The Independent: We could live inside a multiverse that is full of alien life, new study suggests
  6. Astrobiology Magazine: Could a multiverse be hospitable to life?
  7. inverse.com: New Multiverse Research Suggests Scientists Need a New Law of Dark Energy
  8. Geek.com: Science Says: Multiverse May Sustain Life
  9. The Register: Get over yourselves: Life in the multiverse could be commonplace
  10. New Atlas: Simulations suggest multiverse is either teeming with life – or doesn’t exist
  11. EarthSky: Is there life in the multiverse?
  12. Eureka Alert: Could a multiverse be hospitable to life?
  13. Science Alert: The Multiverse Could Be Teeming With Life But Is Also Problematic, Says New Study
  14. Inquisitr: New Research Questions The Multiverse Theory, Calls For A New Law Of Dark Energy
  15. Bizsiziz.com: The Multiverse Could Be Teeming With Life But Is Also Problematic, Says New Study
  16. Advocator: Could There Be Life in the Multiverse?
  17. India.com: A multiverse may be hospitable to life: study
  18. Silicon Republic: Mysterious force could determine whether life exists in multiverse
  19. Sputnik News: “Multiverse” May Be Hospitable to Life After All
  20. whatsnew2day.com: Bad information for the multiverse: it is nonetheless not going
  21. scienmag.com: Could A Multiverse Be Hospitable To Life?
  22. International Business Times: Multiverse’s High Dark Energy Levels Don’t Hamper Life’s Chance Of Existing Elsewhere
  23. TheTeCake: New find on multiverse shocks scientists!

I’ll be speaking at The Atrium Theatrette in Perth next thursday, on the topic of the fine-tuning of the universe for life. It’s a ticketed event, but you get drinks and canapes for your $30.

Time: Thursday 10 May, 5.30pm-8pm
Location: The Atrium Theatrette, Level 4, 168 St Georges Terrace, Perth
Tickets: Follow the link here.


I’ll be speaking at University Of Technology, Sydney on Monday 16th April, 2018. This event was originally pitched to me as another talk about the book, but has since evolved into a four-person discussion/debate event with Prof Peter Slezak (UNSW), Ian Bryce, and Mike Paget.

You may be familiar with Prof Slezak from his very interesting debates with Dr William Lane Craig, which I’ll put below. So I’m hopeful for an entertaining evening.

Time: April 16, Monday 6.30-8.30pm
Location: Aerial Function Centre @ Building 10, Level 7

This is a ticketed event – $10. I have no idea why. Book your tickets at Eventbrite.


Peter Slezak videos …

I’m in the final stages of moving to a new position at Western Sydney University, so prepare for some more blogging soon about new and important things!

In the meantime, I’ll be speaking in Sydney tomorrow (Monday 19th March, 2018) at the Macarthur Astronomical Society.

Title: The Universe and Entropy, or The top 10 things to do before the heat death of the universe.
Time: Monday 19th March, 2018 at 7:30pm
Location: The small lecture theatre in Building 30 (School of Medicine) at Western Sydney University, Campbelltown Campus.
Public entry is by a gold coin donation

For the last 13.7 billion years, a variety of complex structures have assembled in the universe we see around us: nebulae, stars, planets, galaxies and more. But the infamous “second law of thermodynamics” says that the universe is winding down, moving from order to chaos.

How do these ideas fit together? Is the story of the universe order from chaos, or chaos from order?

The audiobook of “A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos” has arrived!!!


It will be out on a few other platforms soon, we’re told by the distributor. We have absolutely no control over the price, by the way. It took an awfully long time to record and edit, but if you want to hear “A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos” read in a charming Welsh accent, you’re in luck!

A note for any would-be audiobook producers: the YouTube channel Booth Junkie is your new best friend. Mike DelGaudio‘s tips for recording and producing, in particular the setup of Reaper, compression, EQ, gates and such, are priceless.

I’ve recently had my first philosophy paper published! It appears in the European Journal for Philosophy of Science, and is available online for free here (I think – tell me in the comments if it doesn’t work). [Edit: It doesn’t. Here’s the preprint.] Here’s the abstract:

Fine-tuning in physics and cosmology is often used as evidence that a theory is incomplete. For example, the parameters of the standard model of particle physics are “unnaturally” small (in various technical senses), which has driven much of the search for physics beyond the standard model. Of particular interest is the fine-tuning of the universe for life, which suggests that our universe’s ability to create physical life forms is improbable and in need of explanation, perhaps by a multiverse. This claim has been challenged on the grounds that the relevant probability measure cannot be justified because it cannot be normalized, and so small probabilities cannot be inferred. We show how fine-tuning can be formulated within the context of Bayesian theory testing (or model selection) in the physical sciences. The normalizability problem is seen to be a general problem for testing any theory with free parameters, and not a unique problem for fine-tuning. Physical theories in fact avoid such problems in one of two ways. Dimensional parameters are bounded by the Planck scale, avoiding troublesome infinities, and we are not compelled to assume that dimensionless parameters are distributed uniformly, which avoids non-normalizability.

Geraint Lewis and I are off to the United Kingdom in October 2017 for a series of blockbuster events! Come and see our double act!

We’re still putting a few details together, so stay tuned – I’ll update this post as appropriate.

Wednesday 11th Oct: Cambridge,England

Title: A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos
Address: High Cross
Madingley Road
Cambridge, CB3 0EL
Tickets are free and are available here.

Thursday 12th Oct: York, England

Title: A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos
Time: 7pm
Address: St Peter’s School York,
Clifton A19
YO30 6AB
More details here.
Tickets are free and are available here.

Friday 13th Oct: Armagh, Northern Ireland

Title: A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos
Time: 7pm
Address: Armagh Planetarium,
College Hill, Armagh
BT61 9DB
Northern Ireland

Monday 16th Oct: Leeds, England

Title: A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos
Time: 7pm
Address: Michael Sadler Building, Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre,
University of Leeds,
Leeds, LS2 9JT
More details here.

Tuesday 17th Oct: The Royal Institution, London, England

Title: A Fortunate Universe
Time: 7 – 8:30pm
Address: The Royal Institution of Great Britain
21 Albemarle Street
London, W1S 4BS
Tickets essential! Book here.

Wednesday 18th Oct: Lancaster, England

Title: A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos
Time: 6:30pm
Address: Cavendish Lecture Theatre,
Lancaster University, Bailrigg,
Lancaster, LA1 4YW
More details here.

Thursday 19th Oct: Durham, England

Title: A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos
Time: 7pm
Address: James Duff Lecture Theatre (PH8),
Physics Building,
Durham University
More details here.

Friday 20th Oct: Oxford, England

Title: A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos
Time: 8pm
Address: Oxford University Space and Astronomy Society
Martin Woods Lecture Theatre
20 Parks Rd,
Oxford OX1 3PU