Mr Alexander Leithes

Mr Alexander Leithes

Research Student
School of Physics and Astronomy
Queen Mary, University of London
327 Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS

Telephone: 0207 882 3431
Room: 502

My research interests

Welcome to my academic homepage.

I am an Astrophysicist, working in the field of Theoretical Cosmology, in areas including Inflation and Perturbation Theory - particularly its application to the universe at early and late times.  I am currently studying for a PhD at Queen Mary, University of London. I work within the Cosmology, Relativity and Gravitation group, which is part of the Astronomy Unit and I am supervised by Dr Karim Malik. Throughout 2014 I acted as the organiser and chair of the Cosmology and Relativity Discussion Group meetings. As of August 2014 I became the organiser of the Cosmology and Discussion group seminars, arranging for external speakers. I am also Queen Mary's coordinator for the London Cosmology Discussion Meetings (LCDM). I have also been elected to the role of Astrophysics PhD Student Representative as of April 2014.

My current research is into coupled quintessence models of interacting dark energy, producing a fully generally model independent Python code to investigate numerically the regions of parameter space in which a given model gives background and perturbed results which are both stable and match observations, such as those from large scale structure surveys. My recent research was into finding and constructing gauge invariant and conserved quantities in perturbed LTB cosmology, in order that these can be compared with those in the standard \Lambda CDM model assuming flat or near flat FLRW or other inhomogeneous cosmologies. They may possibly provide a useful analytical check against numerical work also being conducted in the field of LTB cosmology.

Prior to taking up a PhD position, I completed my MSc in Astrophysics part-time at Queen Mary between 2009 and 2011. During this time, and previously for a total of eleven years, I was a Physics teacher in both state and independent secondary schools, after completing my PGCE at King's College London. Before this point I worked in the IT industry for five years after completing my BSc in Physics with Astrophysics at King's College London. For more information on my current research and teaching use the tabs above.

My thesis was successfully defended in viva on the 9th of December 2016.

My teaching

I have been teaching for over twelve years. I have taught Maths and Science to all ages and all abilities from age eleven to degree level. I gained Qualified Teacher Status in Science twelve years prior to taking up my PhD position. The majority of my current teaching is undergraduate Maths for Queen Mary, plus some private tuition.

I am marking for the following courses whilst studying at Queen Mary:

  • Physical Cosmology 2014-15

I am tutoring for the following courses whilst studying at Queen Mary:

  • Calculus I 2012-2015
  • Complex Variables 2012-2013
  • Geometry I 2012-2014
  • Introduction to Algebra 2012-2013
  • Differential Equations 2015
  • Our Universe 2016

My grants, prizes and awards

I have been awarded the following grants:

  • Full STFC studentship for three and a half years ST/K50225X/1 - Start date 24th September 2012.
  • IOP funding for travel and accommodation to BritGrav in Sheffield - 3-4th April 2013.
  • Scholarship from the ISSP to attend summer school - 23rd of June to 3rd July 2013.
  • Scholarship from the ISSP to attend summer school - 24th of June to 3rd July 2014.
  • IOP funding for travel and accommodation to BritGrav in Birmingham - 20-21st April 2015.
  • Scholarship from the ISSP to attend summer school - 24th of June to 3rd July 2015.
  • Scholarship from the ISSP to attend summer school - 14-24th June 2016.

I have received the following awards and prizes:

Talks, Posters, Workshops and Conferences

I have attended the following summer schools, workshops and conferences:

I have given the following talks:

I have presented the following posters:

My publications

  • Conserved Quantities in Lemaitre-Tolman-Bondi Cosmology arXiv:1403.7661 Classical and Quantum GravityAlexander Leithes and Karim A. Malik.
  • Linear Density Perturbations in Multifield Coupled Quintessence arXiv:1608.00908, Physical Review D Alexander Leithes, Karim A. Malik, David J. Mulryne and Nelson J. Nunes.
  • PYESSENCE - Generalised Coupled Quintessence Linear Perturbation Python Code - User Guide arXiv:1608.00910Alexander Leithes.
  • PYESSENCE BitbucketAlexander Leithes.
  • PYESSENCE WebsiteAlexander Leithes.
  • Perturbations in Lemaitre-Tolman-Bondi and Assisted Coupled Quintessence Cosmologies arXiv:1704.08975 Alexander Leithes


I have been involved with the following university outreach projects and events:

  • Online Postgraduate Open Day, Producer April 2013
  • Exploring Energy Year 8 Open Day June 2013
  • Undergraduate Open Day for Physics June 2013
  • Student Organiser STFC Astronomy Summer School September 2013
  • Manned QMUL Astronomy Unit Stand at European Planetary Science Congress, UCL September 2013
  • Undergraduate Open Day for Physics September 2013
  • Clearing Hotline for School of Physics and Astronomy August 2014
  • Hosting the Postgraduate Research Evening November 2014
  • Mentoring pupils from Godolphin and Latymer School on British Science Association CREST Gold Award, Summer 2015
  • Cosmology Beyond the Standard Model - QMUL Outreach talk on research to 14-16 year old students, July 2015