Babul, Arif

University of Victoria Distinguished Professor


Phone number: (250) 721-8844
Department: Physics & Astronomy

Research description:

-Theoretical astrophysics and cosmology
-Evolution of galaxies, groups of galaxies and clusters of galaxies
-Dark matter
Expertise Profile
Internationally acclaimed astrophysicist Arif Babul studies how the various components of the universe--gas, dark matter, stars and galaxies--evolved into what they are today.

As an expert in theoretical cosmology, Dr. Babul tests theories about the origins of galaxies--such as our own Milky Way galaxy--as well as groups of galaxies and massive clusters of galaxies using powerful supercomputers that can simulate the progression of the universe since the Big Bang, and replicate its nearly 14 billion-year-old history.

"Since the beginning of human civilization we have been wondering how the universe came into being, how and when stars were born, and how life evolved," he says. "It's a fascinating riddle."

Dr. Babul is founding director of the UVic-based Canadian Computational Cosmology Collaboration (C4), which has grown into the international Cape Town to Cascadia Computational Cosmology (C2C4). In it, computational cosmologists from around the world use massive computer simulations to trace the evolution of the universe. The biggest challenge when working in this field is the inability to repeat the Big Bang except virtually.

One of Babul's research goals is to understand dark matter, a mysterious invisible substance that accounts for more than 80 per cent of matter in the universe. "The aim of our research programme is not only to understand how the dark matter coalesces to form discreet structure, but also to develop physical insights into what happens to the gas and galaxies as this process unfolds."

Dr. Babul has been a Distinguished Professor at UVic since 2007--this is the highest academic honour the university can grant a faculty member. He's highly regarded as a mentor and teacher among his students, who appreciate his ability to explain mind-boggling concepts clearly and comprehensibly.

Related Links
Dr. Babul's Faces of UVic Research video:

Health related research:

See above

International research:

Most of his investigations are collaborative in nature involving groups of 4-5 scientists from the US, the UK, Italy, France and India.

Countries lived or worked in:

The U.S., the U.K. and Tanzania


Kutcchi and Gujarati

Software development

Dr. Babul's work in computational cosmology involves working with massively parallel computational simulation codes, and developing new approaches for visualizing and making sense of the resulting multidimensional datafiles (Big Data).

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