Skip to main content
Professor Brad Gibson

Professor Brad Gibson

Head of Dept, Physics & Maths; Director, E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics

Faculty and Department

  • Faculty of Science and Engineering
  • School of Natural Sciences

Summary

Professor Brad Gibson is the Head of the Department of Physics & Mathematics, and Director of the E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics, at the University of Hull. Brad completed his MSc and PhD at the University of British Columbia, building the world's first Liquid Mirror Telescope Observatory and designing software to map the distribution of the chemical elements throughout the Universe. Brad was responsible for using exploding stars to determine the expansion rate of the Universe, as part of the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project on the Extragalactic Distance Scale, for which his team was awarded the Gruber Prize in Cosmology. He was the first to identify the locations within the Milky Way most likely to harbour complex biological life, for which his work was named by National Geographic magazine as one of the Top 10 News Stories of the Year. Brad's work has been acknowledged by his peers 30,000 times, making him the University of Hull's most cited academic, and ranking him within the top few percent in the world.

Brad has been responsible for doubling the number of women entering physics at the University, as part of his commitment to widening participation and gender diversity in science, and improving the career prospects of physics students; this has all been accomplished under his "Changing Face of Physics" campaign, which led to the Department's Athena Swan award, and the campaign being named Best Practice in the Country by the UK's Equality Challenge Unit.

Brad is the University of Hull's most active outreach and public/schools engagement academic. Since 2016, he has run 500 events, reaching more than 30,000 people in-person (including 15,000+ students across 60 different schools and colleges, 60% of whom reside in the bottom two POLAR4 socio-economic quartiles. His online/media appearance have reached a further two million people around the world. His outreach efforts led to him being named the Institute of Physics’ John Porter Memorial Lecturer, the Leon Davies Lecturer (Glasgow), the Ray Bootland Memorial Lecturer, and Manchester’s Bexwyke Lecturer; he has spoken at the Cheltenham Science Festival, the British Science Festival, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and opened for Brian Cox and Lucy Hawking at European AstroFest, and delivered a highly popular TED talk on the subject of the search for alien life.

Recent outputs

View more outputs

Journal Article

Chemical Evolution of Fluorine in the Milky Way

Womack, K., Vincenzo, F., Gibson, B., Côté, B., Pignatari, M., E. Brinkman, H., …Karakas, A. (2023). Chemical Evolution of Fluorine in the Milky Way. Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 518(1), 1543–1556. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stac3180

A Large-scale Approach to Modeling Molecular Biosignatures: The Diatomics

Cross, T. M., Benoit, D. M., Pignatari, M., & Gibson, B. K. (2022). A Large-scale Approach to Modeling Molecular Biosignatures: The Diatomics. The Astrophysical journal, 925(1), Article 57. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ac3976

Radioactive nuclei in the early Solar System: Analysis of the 15 isotopes produced by core-collapse supernovae

Lawson, T. V., Pignatari, M., Stancliffe, R. J., den Hartogh, J., Jones, S., Fryer, C. L., …Lugaro, M. (in press). Radioactive nuclei in the early Solar System: Analysis of the 15 isotopes produced by core-collapse supernovae. Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Article stab3684. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stab3684

Project ThaiPASS: international outreach blending astronomy and Python

Keegans, J. D., Stancliffe, R. J., Bilton, L. E., Cashmore, C. R., Gibson, B. K., Kristensen, M. T., …Chongchitnan, S. (2021). Project ThaiPASS: international outreach blending astronomy and Python. Physics Education, 56(3), Article 035001. https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6552/abdae7

The horizon run 5 cosmological hydrodynamical simulation: probing galaxy formation from kilo- to gigaparsec scales

Lee, J., Shin, J., Snaith, O. N., Kim, Y., Few, C. G., Devriendt, J., …Park, C. (2021). The horizon run 5 cosmological hydrodynamical simulation: probing galaxy formation from kilo- to gigaparsec scales. The Astrophysical journal, 908(1), Article 11. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/abd08b

Project

Funder

Grant

Started

Status

Project

Astrophysics at the University of Hull

Funder

STFC Science & Technology Facilities Council

Grant

£704,947.00

Started

1 April 2018

Status

Complete

Project

The Galactic Terrestrial Zone in a Cosmological Context

Funder

Royal Astronomical Society

Grant

£1,200.00

Started

17 July 2017

Status

Complete

Project

Tracing Gas Flows Into (and Out of) Galaxies

Funder

Royal Astronomical Society

Grant

£1,200.00

Started

1 June 2020

Status

Complete

Project

STFC Introductory Astronomy School - 2021

Funder

STFC Science & Technology Facilities Council

Grant

£49,315.00

Started

1 April 2021

Status

Complete

Project

NAM2017 Conference

Funder

Royal Astronomical Society

Grant

£50,000.00

Started

1 August 2017

Status

Complete

Project

Novel Nuclear Astrophysical Pathways to Constructing the Periodic Table

Funder

The Leverhulme Trust

Grant

£13,100.00

Started

1 July 2019

Status

Complete

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome a breadth of topics under the umbrella of astrophysics, both at he PhD and MSc level. A partial list of past and present postgraduates for whom I am the Director of Studies includes:

Mary Putman (Australian National University, PhD, 2000) Dissertation: GASS: The Nature & Origin of High-Velocity Clouds 2000 Hubble Fellowship Awardee - Now Faculty at Columbia

Chris Brook (Swinburne University, PhD, 2004)

Dissertation: Chemodynamical Simulations of the Milky Way Research Fellow, IAC, Tenerife

Yeshe Fenner (Swinburne University, PhD, 2005) Dissertation: Chemical Evolution of Galactic Systems 2005 Hubble Fellowship Awardee (declined) - Program Manager, Astronomy Australia Ltd.

Stuart Gill (Swinburne University, PhD, 2005)

Dissertation: Substructure in Dark Matter Galactic Halos Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia - Richard Pratt Prize World Bank - Natural Disasters Division

Chris Thom (Swinburne University, PhD, 2006) Dissertation: Galactic Halo Tomography and Topography Research Fellow, STScI

Agostino Renda (Swinburne University, PhD, 2008) Dissertation: The Formation of Spiral Galaxy Stellar Halos Science Teacher - Copenhagen, Denmark

Tim Connors (Swinburne University, PhD, 2008)

Dissertation: High Resolutions Simulations of Galactic Cannibalism IT Manager - Bureau of Meteorology

Gemma Hughes (University of Central Lancashire, MSc, 2008)

Dissertation: Modelling the Evolution of Isotopes in the ISM of Disc Galaxies IT Manager, CSC

Owain Snaith (University of Central Lancashire, PhD, 2011) Dissertation: The Origin and Evolution of Galaxy Groups Research Fellow, Observatoire de Paris

Elisa House (University of Central Lancashire, PhD, 2011) Dissertation: Kinematical Heating of Disk Galaxies Chief Editor, Oxford University Press

Gareth Few (University of Central Lancashire, PhD, 2012)

Dissertation: Adaptive Mesh Refinement Simulations of Group Galaxies Teaching Fellow, Durham University

Maider Sancho Miranda (University of Central Lancashire, PhD, 2017) Dissertation: The Origin of the Thick Stellar Discs of Spiral Galaxies 3D Visualisation, Industry

Ben Thompson (University of Central Lancashire, PhD, 2017)

Dissertation: The Chemical and Dynamical Evolution of Simulated Late-Type Galaxies Software Engineer, Industry

Daniel Atkin (University of Hull, MSc, 2019)

Dissertation: Sampling Simulated Galaxies with Observational Selection Functions Data Scientist, Industry

Leah Cox (University of Hull, PhD, 2022) Dissertation: The Age Distribution of Stellar Halos

Kate Womack (University of Hull, PhD, 2025) Dissertation: Galactic Chemical Evolution

Ryan Alexander (University of Hull, PhD, 2025) Dissertation: Inhomogeneous Galaxy Evolution Models

Awards and prizes

The Leon Davies Lecture

2019 - 2019

Awarded annually by the Astronomical Society of Glasgow in recognition of outstanding contributions to science communication.

The Bexwyke Lecture

2019 - 2019

Awarded annually by Manchester Grammar School in recognition of outstanding contributions to science communication.

Gruber Prize in Cosmology

2009 - 2009

Awarded to the PIs on behalf of the HST Key Project on the Extragalactic Distance Scale

Honorary position

The Kevin Westfold Distinguished Visitor

2012 - 2012

Journal editorial role

Scientific Editor, The Astrophysics Journal

2016 - 2022

Top