Centre for Theoretical Cosmology News

John Barrow awarded RAS Gold Medal and Dirac Medal

The CTC is very proud to announce that one of its faculty members, Professor John Barrow, has been awarded two major honours for his work in cosmology. The first was the 2015 Dirac Medal, given annually by the Institute of Physics for “outstanding contributions to theoretical (including mathematical and computational) physics.”

In awarding the medal to Professor Barrow, the IOP gave the following citation:

“Professor John Barrow has been awarded the Dirac Medal for his combination of mathematical and physical reasoning to increase our understanding of the evolution of the universe, and his use of cosmology to increase our understanding of fundamental physics. Professor Barrow is a highly original scientist whose work is concerned with fundamental questions about the origin and nature of the universe. He has been at the forefront of theoretical cosmology for more than 35 years. His research in cosmology is extraordinarily far ranging and he has made important contributions across many areas of gravitation, astrophysics and cosmology. It spans work of a mathematical nature, particle physics, mathematical statistics and observation. Barrow is also a distinguished writer and lecturer for non-specialist audiences. His work in this area has made a huge contribution to public engagement with science.”

In January 2016 the Royal Astronomical Society announced that it was giving Professor Barrow its highest honour, the Gold Medal. Its citation gives an indication of his enormous contribution to science over the years:

“The winner of the Gold Medal in astronomy is Professor John Barrow of the University of Cambridge, in recognition of his work as a world-renowned theoretical cosmologist. He has authored more than 500 scientific papers over the last 35 years, ranging widely over topics such as cosmology, the synthesis of the elements in the early Universe, the origin of cosmic magnetic fields, limits on the time variation of physical constants and extensions of General Relativity.

“Prof Barrow has been indefatigable in his passion to demonstrate the importance of our science within the general culture of mankind. He is known to a wide public through his popular, beautifully written and authoritative books - over twenty of them - on astronomy, mathematics and physics. ‘The Anthropic Cosmological Principle’, co-authored with Frank Tipler, is an acknowledged classic, and shows his concern for philosophical issues.

“He is the only person since 1642 to be elected to two different Gresham Professorships, in his case those in Astronomy and Geometry. Since 1999, Professor Barrow has successfully led the Millennium Mathematics project, dedicated to the task - important for all sciences - of strengthening the teaching of mathematics in primary and secondary schools. He has been an extraordinary ambassador for science and mathematics, while maintaining a lifetime’s work investigating novel and stimulating ideas in cosmology.”