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School of Physics and Astronomy

Astronomy Unit Seminar - Brad Gibson

When: Friday, February 26, 2021, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Where: Online event,

Speaker: Brad Gibson (Hull)

Simulations of Spiral Galaxies: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Using computers to mimic the beautiful Grand Design spirals seen through telescopes has been a century-long challenge.  While the physics which makes galaxies is fairly simple and covered at A-level, implementing that physics inside supercomputers has been frustratingly difficult.  In the past 10 years, we have finally started to generate galaxies which actually look “real”.  In this talk, I will introduce you to nearly 200 years of galaxy physics, and leave you with a state-of-the-art picture of where we stand in simulating these systems.


Short bio: An Aussie-Canadian transplant, Brad is the Head of Physics & Maths, and Director of the E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics, at the University of Hull.  Brad’s work has gained a degree of notoriety by defining the Milky Way’s Galactic Habitable Zone (named a Top 10 News Story of the Year by National Geographic), determining the expansion rate of the Universe (for which their team was awarded the Gruber Prize in Cosmology), and building the world’s first Liquid Mirror Telescope Observatory. Brad’s 400+ outreach events over the past 5 years have reached nearly a million people around the world, including more than 50 schools and colleges around the UK.  His commitment to widening participation and diversity, and improving the career prospects of physics students, led to his “Changing Face of Physics” campaign being named Best Practice in the Country by the UK’s Equality Challenge Unit.