Hi! I'm Alex Gough (pronounced like 'cough' with a /g/), and I'm a third year PhD student at Newcastle University, studying how the largest structures in the Universe form.
Formally my PhD is in applied mathematics, but at heart I'm a physicist (I commit slightly too many notation sins to be a proper mathematician). In particular I study dark matter dynamics in the non-linear regime, and work on using and developing new statistical techniques for extracting cosmological information. I work in both the theoretical cosmology and observational astronomy groups at Newcastle with my supervisor Cora Uhlemann.
I received both my bachelors degree (physics) and master's degree (theoretical and mathematical physics) from Oxford University in 2020. During my master's I took courses on general relativity, cosmology, quantum field theory, galactic dynamics, radiative processes, group theory, and differential geometry.
Teaching and education
Beyond my scientific interests, I'm interested in education in a very general sense, and love getting hands on experience teaching and working with people. I've taught in formal settings like schools and tutoring, but also in a science museum, at a summer camp, and martial arts classes. I've worked with children as young as 2.5, taught things from introductory reading and arithmetic up to university level physics, and helped prepare adults 30 years my senior for their Taekwon-do gradings.
Art and Science
I'm interested in science as a human endeavour, and how the communication of science can benefit from and interface with different media such as storytelling and art. More recently I've been reconnecting with the visually artistic side of things, and have been trying to produce both visualisations in a scientific sense (see some examples in the animations gallery) as well as working with more traditional artistic media inspired by the scientific work I'm thinking about (such as the thread weaving shown on the right). Eventually some of these things will make their way onto this website. I also enjoy writing for different audiences, and previously was an author for the Astrobites collaboration.
String art related to my work on dark matter dynamics and caustics. The structure of such systems is highly analogous to systems in optics. Understanding this correspondence lead to my first first-author paper. You can find an animated version of this piece in the animations gallery.
Applying physics in a rather literal way. This was one of the breaks required for my 4th Dan grading (jumping reverse turning kick).
Me and some members of OUTKD at International Instructor's Course and Technical Seminar.
I've been training in ITF Taekwon-do since 2004 and am a 4th degree black belt and international instructor. Taekwon-do was the first place I started teaching, working with both the childrens' classes and adults.
Unfortunately I haven't been able to continue training as much as I'd like since the pandemic, but hopefully I'll find a way to soon.
Outside of physics I enjoy baking (mostly breads but lots of other things too), board games and TTRPGs, and have an amateur interest in linguistics of both natural and constructed languages (though I am disappointingly monolingual). I love cats, science fiction, generally being outside, and have recently been trying my hand at various cloth/fibre crafts.