David Wiltshire

Professor of Theoretical PhysicsDavid Wiltshire

300-level Physics Co-ordinator
Beatrice Tinsley 415
Internal Phone: 95128

Qualifications & Memberships

Research Interests

My interests broadly cover general relativity, quantum gravity and cosmology. Early in my career my main contributions were on gravitational aspects of higher-dimensional unified models, including so-called brane worlds, in which I was a pioneer. I have made many contributions on higher-dimensional black holes, and have also worked in quantum cosmology. More recently, I have become interested in the challenges to theoretical cosmology posed by new observations, in particular by cosmic acceleration and “dark energy”. I have revisited old assumptions concerning the operational interpretation of measurements in cosmology, and the way we average a universe, which is in fact very lumpy, with galaxy clusters strung in filaments and sheets around huge voids. “Dark energy” may in fact be a misidentification of “quasi-local gravitational energy”, an aspect of Einstein’s theory that we have yet to fully understand. I have proposed a viable alternative to the standard model - the timescape cosmology. My team and I are testing its properties. In future we aim to more deeply understand the nature of gravitational energy by rigorously construct a modified statistical geometry for the universe. The aim is to understand "dark energy" and possibly also "dark matter" as a modified geometrical theory of gravity rather than new exotic "stuff".

Recent Publications

  • Heinesen A., Blake C., Li Y-Z. and Wiltshire DL. (2019) Baryon acoustic oscillation methods for generic curvature: Application to the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey. Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 2019(3) 003: 38. http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1475-7516/2019/03/003.
  • Wiltshire D. (2019) Towards precision tests of the cosmological principle. Christchurch, New Zealand: New Zealand Institute of Physics Conference 2019, 16 Apr 2019.
  • Wiltshire D. (2019) Towards precision tests of the cosmological principle. Toruń, Poland: Inhomogeneous Cosmologies IV, 17 Jul 2019.
  • Wiltshire D. (2019) Towards precision tests of the cosmological principle: Inhomogeneous backreaction versus ΛCDM. Valencia, Spain: 22nd International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation, 09 Jul 2019.
  • Wiltshire DL. (2019) Comment on "Hubble flow variations as a test for inhomogeneous cosmology". Astronomy & Astrophysics 624 A12: 4. http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201834833.