About Me


robert_reading_resized-683x1024I am a mathematical physics student at the University of Nottingham. I am currently studying for my PhD in string / M-theory, with interests primarily in non-perturbative theory, duality and geometry, and the study of higher structures. I also have a deep interest at the intersections of pure mathematics and fundamental physics, e.g discrete mathematics and number theory. You can find my current research profile here. Outside of these topics, I also have strong interest in mathematical biology.

My interest in string theory began prior to entering university as a first year undergraduate. But it was during the first couple of months of my undergraduate degree that I began to self-study string theory in a rigourous way, essentially rederiving most of bosonic theory for my own notes. A couple of months later, the School of Physics obtained permission to accelerate me as a first-year undergraduate to a full-time Master of Research degree, which I began in October 2019 and completed in October 2020. My MRes thesis involved the study of double sigma models in string theory under the supervision of Professor Tony Padilla.

I’ve talked a bit about my physics journey so far in an interview with the Institute of Physics.

I created this blog as a space for me to document some of my interests, studies, and scholarship in a range of areas. It is primarily a research blog based on my ongoing research in string / M-theory and mathematical physics more generally. So you will find lots of discussion on string theory and quantum field theory, for example. The mathematics portion of my blog is mostly a space for articles that either seek to explain or explore specific mathematical theories and concepts, or as a space to explore mathematical connections in my research area. I also enjoy writing, and I have great interest in reading widely on many topics. Writing has taken on an important meaning in my life, and I approach the world with interest in attempting to understand it. The general reading category of my blog serves to as a space to share a mixture of formal publications as well as informal essays and personal notes. I have written piles and piles of essays and articles over the years on  subjects ranging from philosophy, epistemology, science and the philosophy of science, history, psychology, as well as politics and current events, and so on.

More about me

Since I was young I’ve had a broad and far-reaching interest in physical science, and that includes an ongoing and deep-seated enthusiasm for astrophysics, especially theoretical astrophysics. One of my first major science projects was on aerodynamics when I was 13, and it was one of several early moments where theory and physical science would coalesce to form a resounding sense of curiosity. I am also very much involved in and engaged with mathematics more generally, studying widely and intensely almost anything I get my hands on. Having taught myself calculus when I was younger, and then self-learned higher maths/physics to a post-graduate/doctorate level prior to more formal study at university, in my spare time I continue to enjoy working through various mathematical concepts and physical proofs from first principles. There is something in thinking about maths and all of its connections that excites me.

In my free time my interests also include other areas, such as mathematical biology, and I also remain very much engaged with the sciences more broadly – from cognitive science and psychology to microbiology – studying and sometimes writing in these fields. I also have an interest in the history of science and mathematics, as well as philosophy of science more generally.

During my youthful reading, well before my formal pursuit of a PhD in theoretical physics, I spent significant time heavily focused on philosophy and social science, including study on the philosophy of science and knowledge. Expanding this interest to almost every region of philosophical space, over time I began to develop concentrated study at the intersection of human society, human behaviour, epistemology and ethics. In recognition of these pursuits, I was offered opportunities to lecture at university and was once awarded a teaching-scholar position in philosophy of science at the Institute for Transnational Studies. In 2016, as a result of my developing a cross-disciplinary research programme in the area of human and social sciences, I had a book published by Springer Nature / Palgrave titled ‘Society and Social Pathology: A Framework for Progress’ (2017). It is a critical book very much belonging to the enlightenment tradition, with particular emphasis in the area of social psychology and development drawing from a multitude of disciplines. The book has been promoted as ‘the most comprehensive’ to date.

All of these interests and pursuits have led, to date, to my publishing ~100 academic and non-academic articles across a variety of specialisms, from history and anthropology to psychology, epistemology and philosophy of science. But my main focus remains on my maths and physics, my pursuit of a PhD, and more extendedly my ongoing and long-term research in theoretical physics.

If you would like to know more about me, I have written a rough and unedited autobiographical essay that among other things describes a bit about my life so far, including personal stories such as the time when I taught myself calculus. It also offers some brief if not rudimentary reflections in relation to my early work and studies.

Living with Asperger’s

I have autistic spectrum disorder, which, while high-functioning, on parts of the spectrum I have been diagnosed as clinically severe. I often refer to both ASD and Asperger’s, using them interchably (when I was diagnosed I was used to the Asperger’s designation). With this, I experience many daily difficulties, some of which I am still learning about. Communication is one thing that does not come easy for me. This blog is, in part, a place where I can practice writing and communicating ideas.

I have written a rough and admittedly explorative essay on living with Asperger’s, should you find it of interest. This is something I may update from time to time, should I so choose. I have also started writing about my own ASD on this blog, should one find it helpful.