On September 14, the Breakthrough Prize Foundation named Oliver Philcox as one of the winners of the 2024 New Horizons Prize in Physics. The honor recognizes early-career researchers who have substantially impacted their field.
The award announcement recognizes Philcox’s “contributions to our understanding of the large-scale structure of the universe and the development of new tools to extract fundamental physics from galaxy surveys.” He’s honored alongside Mikhail Ivanov of MIT and Marko Simonović of the University of Florence.
Philcox is a postdoctoral fellow with professors Lam Hui and Colin Hill in Columbia University’s High Energy Theory Group. In 2022, he became a Junior Fellow in the Simons Society of Fellows, a prestigious community of scholars that encourages intellectual interactions between disciplines and institutions in the New York City area.
His research focuses on developing tools for analyzing cosmological datasets, such as those generated by extensive telescope surveys, to unearth new information about the physics that shaped the universe’s evolution. For instance, he’s interested in learning more about the nature of the early universe’s inflation.
Philcox earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University under the supervision of professors David Spergel and Matias Zaldarriaga and was a visiting student at the Institute for Advanced Study. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Cambridge and spent a year as a predoctoral student at Harvard University’s Center for Astrophysics under professor Daniel Eisenstein.