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Professor Malcolm Fairbairn

 Malcolm Fairbairn

Telephone: +44 020 7848 7016

Office: S7.29

Research Group: Theoretical Particle Physics & Cosmology

Office Hours

Here is my Telescope Blog


My research lies at the boundary between cosmology, particle physics and astrophysics.  In particular I am interested in dark matter, dark energy, cosmological inflation and particle astrophysics.  I have been awarded an ERC consolidator grant running from 2015-2020 to study dark matter and particle physics in the early Universe.

Current PhD Students:-

Tarso Franarin - Dark Matter Direct Detection and the Neutrino Bound

John Heal - Dark matter complementarity (LHC vs. direct detection vs. indirect detection

Katja Moskvitch - Dark Matter, Cosmology and Astrophysics

David Rodriguez - Inflation and the electroweak vacuum

Patrick Tunney - Dark Matter phenomenology with the LHC

Selection of Publications Phd Vacancies


Applications are invited for research in the Theoretical Particle Physics & Cosmology group.

To apply for the Physics MPhil/PhD please fill in an application form  Further details and guidelines can be found here .

All relevant information regarding eligibility, including academic and English language requirements, is available from the online prospectus.


For further details contact Prof Malcolm Fairbairn and or the Postgraduate Tutor Dr Cedric Weber.


PhD Projects

The world of cosmology and particle physics can move quite quickly and it is difficult to say precisely what a student will be working on at any given moment two years in the future.  There are, however, common features of all PhD theses undertaken with me:- 

  • You will certainly work on more than one topic, I will try and ensure you have expertise in more than one area of the subject by the time you come to write up your thesis.
  • You will develop and employ a range of both analytic and numerical skills to attack particular problems. 
  • Students are always encouraged to come up with their own research ideas within the thesis, either by taking an idea I give them and then expanding upon it or by coming up with something completely original on their own.  I will help them winnow down ideas and bring good ones to fruition.

Having explained this approach I will list some areas within which my students and I are active, there is plenty of new work to be done in each :-

The Dark Matter - LHC connection

It is thought that there is 5-8 times as much invisible dark matter in the Universe as there is normal matter. There are three ways of detecting this dark matter, the first is by producing it at a collider, the second is by detecting it as it interacts with baryonic targets in experiments and the third is when we look for the particles produced when two dark matter particles collide and annihilate with each other. In order to understand the nature of dark matter work needs to be done to make a link between these three different approaches, work which involves astrophysics, cosmology and some particle physics.


A period of exponential expansion in the early Universe solves many problems in cosmology including why the cosmos is so large and uniform.  Many people think this could be due to an inflation field which dominates the energy density in the early Universe. Quantum fluctuations in this field end up forming the seeds of structure we see today such as galaxies.  

The main aim is to make a link between what can be observed and physics in the Early Universe, especially now we are learning more about the Higgs field and potentially physics beyond the standard model from observations at the LHC. 

Work in this area would involve cosmology, general relativity and hopefully particle physics, since the ultimate aim of the inflationary program is to understand the particle physics of the inflation field and how it relates to the other fields we know exist, such as the particles around us today.

I am always looking for motivated, capable students.

For further information, please contact 



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