Western Sydney University introduces new Research Fellow

Dr Luke Barnes

While most people look to the heavens for answers, Dr Luke Barnes, from the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, looks to the cosmos. He has recently joined the University, having been awarded a prestigious John Templeton Foundation Fellowship.

Dr Barnes’ research has looked into dark energy, the expansion of space, and the emission of light from galaxies as they form. More broadly, his research looks into galaxy formation and the fine-tuning of the universe.He received his PhD in Astronomy from the University of Cambridge, and then studied in Switzerland at the Swiss Federal Institute of Astronomy (ETH Zurich) for two years, before returning home to Australia to work at Sydney University for 6 years.

At Sydney, he co-authored “A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos”, which was published by Cambridge University Press.Dr Barnes’s research at the University will seek to understand the connection between the fundamental elements of physics and life itself.

“It’s an interesting field of study because it addresses where human beings fit into the universe,” Dr Barnes says.

“Specifically, we will use simulations of how galaxies form to examine how life – and the structures on which is depends – are linked to the fundamental properties and symmetries of the universe. Why did our universe begin in an almost perfectly smooth state? Why does the universe contain much more matter than antimatter? These are the questions we will address.”

The John Templeton Foundation aims to provide a catalyst for discoveries relating to the big questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. It supports projects that ask the big questions about life and the universe, and encourages dialogue between scientists, philosophers, and other disciplines, and between experts and the public at large.

Dr Barnes’s research examines the link between life and the fundamental properties of the universe, and he has also published on the philosophical implications of life’s place in the cosmos.


25 May 2018

Jessica Cortis, Media Officer