UCL Astrophysics Group


Professor Ofer Lahav

Ofer Lahav
Ofer Lahav is Perren Chair of Astronomy in the Astrophysics Group at University College London (UCL) and Vice-Dean (International) of the UCL Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MAPS). He is also Co-Director of the STFC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Intensive Science at UCL. Ofer's research area is Observational Cosmology, in particular probing Dark Matter and Dark Energy. His work involves Machine Learning for Big Data. 




Notable Events

The DES Book, published in Sept 2020





Group photo taken at Ofer@60, Cumberland Lodge, April 2019.

Education and Previous Roles

Ofer studied at Tel-Aviv University (BSc, 1980), at Ben-Gurion University (MSc, 1985; supervised by Jacob Bekenstein) and earned his PhD from the University of Cambridge (1988; supervised by George Efstathiou and Donald Lynden-Bell), where he was later a Member of Staff at the Institute of Astronomy (1990-2003) and a Fellow of St Catharine's College.

At UCL he previously served as Head of Astrophysics (2004-2011), establishing Cosmology as a research area, and as Vice-Dean (for Research) of the Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (2011-2015).

Research and Publications

Research Topics

  • Cosmological probes of Dark Matter and Dark Energy
  • Large spectroscopic and photometric redshift surveys
  • Neutrino Cosmology
  • Formation and evolution of galaxies
  • Data Science

During 2012-2018 he held a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant on "Testing the Dark Energy Paradigm" (TESTDE).

Ofer has over 400 research articles in refereed journals, see full publication list.

Other relevant links:


Current and Past PhD Students

Over the years, Ofer has supervised over 30 PhD students at Cambridge and UCL.

Current PhD Students

  • Lucy Clerkin
  • Ben Henghes
  • Constantina Nicolaou
  • Sunil Mucesh

Past PhD Students

At Cambridge: Caleb Scharf, Avi Naim, Andy Loan, Simon Folkes, Matthew Webster, Manula Magliocchetti, Andrew Firth, Darren Madgwick, Pirin Erdogdu, Adrian Collister, Vivienne Wild 

At UCL: Anais Rassat, Alexandra Abate, Chris Lintott, Angeliki Kiakotou , Manda Banerji, Shuan Thomas, Adam Hawken, Fotini Economou, Morgan Hollis, Maayane Soumagnac. Antonella Palmese, Davide Gualdi, Michael McLeod, John Soo, Niall Jeffrey, Krishna Naidoo


Current and Past Postdocs

Current Postdocs

  • Pablo Lemos
  • Maria Marcha
  • Lorne Whiteway

Past Postdocs

At Cambridge: Karl Fisher, Basilio Santiago, Sarah Bridle, Jochen Weller, Oystein Elgaroy, Irit Maor

At UCL: Igancio Ferreras, Filipe Abdalla, Kazuhide Ichikawa, Eduardo Cypriano. Manda Benerji, Ole Host, Gert Hutsi, Molly Swanson, Chris Sabiu, Sree Balan, Aurelien Benoit-Levy, Stephanie Jouvel, Donnacha Kirk, Michelle Lochner, Marc Manera, Alex Merson, Iftach Sadeh, Will Hartley, Anges Ferte, Satya Gontcho a Gontcho, Fabian Krause, Pablo Lemos

Collaborative international projects
  • The Dark Energy Survey - Survey of 300,000,000 galaxies to study the nature of Dark Energy 
  • HST Clash - Hubble Space Telescope imaging survey of galaxy clusters 
  • DESI - The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument 
  • LSST - The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope 
  • Euclid - Space Mission; ESA's Cosmic Vision
Selected Reviews and Semi Popular Articles
Selected Recent Presentations
Software Packages
  • ANNz2: Photometric redshifts using Machine Learning (Sadeh, Abdalla & Lahav 2016)
  • ANNz: Photometric redshifts using Artificial Neural Networks (Collister & Lahav 2004)
  • ExoFit: Orbital parameters of extra-solar planets from radial velocities using Bayesian MCMC (Balan & Lahav 2008)
Scientific Committees
Ofer is one of the founders of the Dark Energy Survey (DES), and he co-chaired the international DES Science Committee from inception until 2016. He also participates in the next-generation surveys (DESIEuclidLSST). He chairs both the DES:UK and DESI:UK consortia. He served as Vice-President of the Royal Astronomical Society (2010-2012), and as a member of the STFC Science Board (2016-2019).
Recent Media Reports and Public Outreach


Last Updated: 03-02-2021