UCL Astrophysics Group

Prof Hiranya Peiris

Prof Hiranya Peiris

Professor of Astrophysics

Dept of Physics & Astronomy

Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2009

Research summary

My research aims to test fundamental physics using large cosmological datasets, including the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and galaxy surveys, using an interdisciplinary approach combining observations, theoretical physics, and advanced statistical methods. I also enjoy thinking about galaxy evolution, stellar dynamics, and the structure of the Milky Way. More broadly beyond astrophysics, my research involves interdisciplinary collaborations at the interface of cosmology with particle physics and condensed matter physics. More details about my work can be found on my web page. 


University College London
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), ATQ01 - Successfully completed an institutional provision in teaching in the HE sector | 2011
Princeton University
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2003
University of Cambridge
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 1998


I am a Professor of Astrophysics in the Astrophysics Group in the Dept. of Physics and Astronomy at UCL and the Director of the UCL Cosmoparticle Initiative which brings together researchers in the Astrophysics and High Energy Physics Groups with space scientists from the Mullard Space Science Laboratory. I am currently spending half my time away from UCL as Director of the Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmoparticle Physics in Stockholm.

Prior to beginning a faculty position at UCL in 2009, I was an STFC Advanced Fellow at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge and a Junior Research Fellow at King's College Cambridge. Previously, I was a Hubble Fellow in the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago. I did my postgraduate research at the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University. I was an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge, where I was a member of New Hall. I was born in Sri Lanka, a beautiful island in the Indian Ocean. 

Selected external recognition (since appointment at UCL): 

2021: Max Born Medal and Prize, German Physical Society and Institute of Physics, U.K.
2020: Göran Gustafsson Prize in Physics, Gustafsson Foundation / Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
2018: Fred Hoyle Medal and Prize, Institute of Physics, U.K.
2018: Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics (awarded to the WMAP Science Team), U.S.A.
2016: Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society
2012: Gruber Cosmology Prize (awarded to the WMAP Science Team), Gruber Foundation, U.S.A.
2012: Fowler Prize, Royal Astronomical Society, U.K.
2009: Philip Leverhulme Prize, The Leverhulme Trust, U.K.

Selected recent leadership roles and service:

Vice-President (Astronomy), Royal Astronomical Society (2016-2018)
Member, STFC Council, U.K. (2020-)
Director, Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmoparticle Physics, Stockholm (2016-)
Editor, Physics Letters B (2015-)

Major collaborations (selected):

Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe Science Team (2002-2006) 
Planck High Frequency Instrument Core Team (2009-2019)
Dark Energy Survey (DES) Collaboration (2013-)
Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) Dark Energy Science Collaboration (2013-, elected Builder 2020)
Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) Collaboration (2015-)
Quantum Simulators for Fundamental Physics (2020-)