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Dr Will Handley


  • MSci in Experimental and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge (2008-2012) 
  • PhD in Physics, University of Cambridge (2012-2016) 

Research interests

I am a Theoretical Cosmologist, studying the very earliest moments of the universe, having recently completed my PhD under my supervisors Anthony Lasenby and Mike Hobson.

My main interest is in "Initial Conditions for Inflation", examining the effect that high energy physics has on the universe a split second after the Big Bang. In 2014, I proved that that the pre-inflationary universe takes an extremely generic form, independent of the type of particle which drives the early accelerated expansion of the universe.

In addition to theoretical investigation, I also examine the observational consequences of these new ideas; testing theories against the latest data from microwave telescopes using the University supercomputers.

Recently, my work has focused on developing novel Bayesian algorithms for high-dimensional parameter estimation and model comparison using nested sampling. Possible applications currently under investigation include protein folding and compressed sensing, in addition to cosmological parameter estimation.

I am a member of the Planck Core HFI team 2.


  • Supervisions: Part IA Mathematics for Natural Sciences (Michaelmas 2012-present)
  • Supervisions: Part IA Physics for Natural Sciences (Michaelmas 2015-Easter 2016)
  • Supervisions: Part II General Relativity (Michaelmas 2013-present)
  • Demonstrating: Part II Theoretical Physics 1 (Michaelmas 2012)
  • Demonstrating: Part II Theoretical Physics 2 (Lent 2013)
  • Tripos Examples Classes: Part IA Mathematics for Natural Sciences (Easter 2014-present)


First author papers

July 2016: Novel quantum initial conditions for inflation arXiv:1607.04148

June 2015: PolyChord: next-generation nested sampling MNRAS arXiv:1506.00171 

Feb 2015: PolyChord: nested sampling for cosmology:  MNRAS arXiv:1502.01856

Jan 2014: Kinetic Initial Conditions for Inflation:  PRD arXiv:1401.2253

Collaborative papers

June 2016: Constraining the dark energy equation of state using Baye's theorem and the Kullback-Liebler divergence arXiv:1607.00270

April 2016: AMI observations of ten CLASH galaxy clusters: SZ and X-ray data used together to determine cluster dynamical states MNRAS arXiv:1604.06120 

June 2015: Bayesian Model selection without evidences: application to the dark energy equation of state MNRAS arXiv:1506.09024

Feb 2015: Planck 2015 results: I overview of products and scientific results: arXiv:1502.01582

Feb 2015: Planck 2015 results: XX Constraints on Inflation: arXiv:1502.02114