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Black History Month
2024 Honoree

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Dr. Luke K Davis

Dr. Luke K Davis

Research Fellow

University College London

A little about me…

I am a theoretical physicist and applied mathematician working to untangle the complexities of living matter such as assemblies of disordered proteins, collectives of biological cells, and macro-molecular transporters. A thread running through all my research is the building of minimal “bare bones” models and theoretical and computational frameworks to understand, design, and control, biological and active matter.

My first degree was an MPhys (Theoretical Physics) at Swansea University [2011-2016], where I obtained a first class and also received the PM Davidson prize for the best theoretical physics project in the master’s year. I completed my DPhil in Theoretical Physics at University College London (UCL), hosted in the London Centre for Nanotechnology, in 2020 and during my DPhil I also conducted research at the University of Toronto (2019). For my first postdoctoral position I was at the University of Luxembourg (2020-2022).

Currently, I am a Research Fellow at the Department of Mathematics at UCL.

I was born in 1993 in St. John’s Radcliffe hospital in the centre of Oxford, England. On the forms my ethnicity is Mixed-White and Black Caribbean. I grew up around Oxfordshire and Warwickshire.

In my early years I was not so focused on one subject, except drawing things from encyclopaedias and other magazines. For a long time, I wanted to be an artist. I still do art now, though with less intensity. What has been a true constant in my life is my curiosity and my desire to read a lot and to read widely across the spectrum of non-fiction (mainly science, biography, encyclopaedias, dictionaries, textbooks). 

I loved learning about the lives of the great scientists of the past. Einstein and Feynman stood out to me. Einstein’s deep yearning for a complete picture of the fundamental workings of the universe, made a great impact on me.

Some advice for pursuing ambitions in physics, maths, and science:

  1. The more you enjoy doing the science, be it algebra, calculations, experiments, coding etc. the further you will go.
  2. Accept that 90% of your time will be spent in confusion and being stuck. Enjoy being stuck in the mud.
  3. Remember everyone is fallible and claims to authority are not enough to justify an idea.
  4. We are easily fooled, nature isn’t.