Helen Fay Dowker (/ˈdkər/; born 9 September 1965) is a British physicist who is the current professor of theoretical physics at Imperial College London.[4][5][6][7][8]

Fay Dowker
Helen Fay Dowker

(1965-09-09) 9 September 1965 (age 53)
Manchester, England
EducationUniversity of Cambridge (BA; PhD 1990)[1]
AwardsTyson Medal (1987)
Scientific career
FieldsTheoretical physics
Causal sets[2]
ThesisSpace-time wormholes (1990)
Doctoral advisorStephen Hawking[3]
InfluencesRafael Sorkin[2]



As a student, she was interested in wormholes and quantum cosmology. Having studied the Mathematical Tripos at the University of Cambridge, Dowker was awarded the Tyson Medal in 1987 and completed her Doctor of Philosophy for research on spacetime wormholes supervised by Stephen Hawking[3][1] in 1990.[1][9]

Career and researchEdit

Dowker completed postdoctoral research at Fermilab, at the University of California, Santa Barbara and also the California Institute of Technology.[10][11]

She is currently a Professor of Theoretical Physics and a member of the Theoretical Physics Group at Imperial College London and an Affiliate of the Institute for Quantum Computing. She conducts research in a number of areas of theoretical physics including quantum gravity and causal set theory.[12][13][14]

Until 2003, Dowker was a lecturer at Queen Mary University of London.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

Dowker is the daughter of physicist Stuart Dowker, who worked at the University of Manchester.[16][17] She was interviewed by Jim Al-Khalili for The Life Scientific in 2017.[2]

She delivered the eulogy at Stephen Hawking's funeral, describing him as her "teacher, mentor and friend" and asserting that "his influence and legacy will live forever."[18]


  1. ^ a b c Dowker, Helen Fay (1990). Space-time wormholes. ethos.bl.uk (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 839406193.
  2. ^ a b c Al-Khalili, Jim (2017). "Fay Dowker on a new theory of space-time". BBC.
  3. ^ a b Fay Dowker at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. ^ Fay Dowker publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  5. ^ Dowker, Fay; Gauntlett, Jerome P.; Kastor, David A.; Traschen, Jennie (1994). "Pair creation of dilaton black holes". Physical Review D. 49 (6): 2909. arXiv:hep-th/9309075. Bibcode:1994PhRvD..49.2909D. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.49.2909.
  6. ^ Dowker, Fay; Gauntlett, Jerome P; Giddings, Steven B.; Horowitz, Gary T. (1994). "Pair creation of extremal black holes and Kaluza-Klein monopoles". Physical Review D. 50 (4): 2662. arXiv:hep-th/9312172. Bibcode:1994PhRvD..50.2662D. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.50.2662.
  7. ^ Dowker, Fay; Gauntlett, Jerome P.; Gibbons, Gary W.; Horowitz, Gary T. (1995). "Decay of magnetic fields in Kaluza-Klein theory". Physical Review D. 52 (12): 6929. arXiv:hep-th/9507143. Bibcode:1995PhRvD..52.6929D. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.52.6929.
  8. ^ Fay Dowker on IMDb
  9. ^ "Former Students". hawking.org.uk. Stephen Hawking. Archived from the original on 2009-02-28.
  10. ^ Dowker, Fay Page at Imperial College London
  11. ^ Dowker, Fay Personal webpage (last updated 2003) Archived 9 April 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Dowker, Fay (2013). "Introduction to causal sets and their phenomenology". General Relativity and Gravitation. 45 (9): 1651. Bibcode:2013GReGr..45.1651D. doi:10.1007/s10714-013-1569-y.
  13. ^ Dowker, Fay; Glaser, Lisa (2013). "Causal set d'Alembertians for various dimensions". Classical and Quantum Gravity. 30 (19): 195016. arXiv:1305.2588. Bibcode:2013CQGra..30s5016D. doi:10.1088/0264-9381/30/19/195016.
  14. ^ Afshordi, Niayesh; Buck, Michel; Dowker, Fay; Rideout, David; Sorkin, Rafael D.; Yazdi, Yasaman K. (2012). "A ground state for the causal diamond in 2 dimensions". Journal of High Energy Physics. 2012 (10). arXiv:1207.7101. Bibcode:2012JHEP...10..088A. doi:10.1007/JHEP10(2012)088.
  15. ^ History Theoretical Physics Group, Imperial College London
  16. ^ Anon (2015). "Stuart Dowker". University of Manchester. Archived from the original on 18 May 2017.
  17. ^ Dowker, Fay; Elizalde, Emilio; Kirsten, Klaus (2012). "Applications of zeta functions and other spectral functions in mathematics and physics: a special issue in honour of Stuart Dowker's 75th birthday". Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical. 45 (37): 370301. Bibcode:2012JPhA...45a0101D. doi:10.1088/1751-8113/45/37/370301. ISSN 1751-8113.
  18. ^ "Prof Stephen Hawking funeral: Legacy 'will live forever'". BBC News. 31 March 2018.