A First Author Paper

I thought I’d take a few minutes to celebrate the fact that the first first-author paper by my PhD student here at the University of Sussex, Mateja Gosenca, has just hit the arXiv. The abstract reads:

We explore the dynamical behaviour of cosmological models involving a scalar field (with an exponential potential and a canonical kinetic term) and a matter fluid with spatial curvature included in the equations of motion. Using appropriately defined parameters to describe the evolution of the scalar field energy in this situation, we find that there are two extra fixed points that are not present in the case without curvature. We also analyse the evolution of the effective equation-of-state parameter for different initial values of the curvature.

There has been a lot of interest recently in treating cosmological models as dynamical systems, and the class of models we studied has been analysed before (see the references in the paper) but this paper addresses them in a different (and perhaps slightly more elegant) way and in the context of quintessence models for dark energy. It also contains some very pretty multi-dimensional phase portraits, like this:


Of course these figures are self-explanatory, so I’ll say no more about them…


9 Responses to “A First Author Paper”

  1. Phillip Helbig Says:

    While they didn’t use the term “dynamical system”, I think the first paper to explore this in the context of cosmology was a wonderful paper by Rolf Stabell and Sjur Refsdal from almost 50 years ago. This paper is probably the best introduction to classical theoretical cosmology. It is not an extremely highly cited paper, but has had a few in all the decades since then and, more importantly, has been cited by the right people (and I don’t mean myself here, though I have cited it). The papers which cite it would themselves make for very good reading.

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    First solo flight, congratulations!

    But who is “we” in the abstract?

    • telescoper Says:

      I’m the second author….. so it’s the Royal We.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Senior moment, I took “first author” to mean “single author”. So no need to promote the cat to co-author like Hetherington did.

      • telescoper Says:

        Actually my first paper was a single-author affair. I was so surprised that my supervisor didn’t add his name that I assumed it wad because he didn’t want to be associated with such rubbish. In fact, it was just a generous gesture.

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        I guess you mean Barrow. Of course, he could also afford to leave his name off of a paper.

        I sadly miss the QJRAS. In between essays by the likes of Harrison, Rees, Ellis, Longair, Barrow etc. there were the “reports from the observatories”. I remember one year Barrow had something like a dozen single-author papers in major journals, as well as a popular book or two (not to mention being a co-author on several things, of course—here, it is sometimes difficult to judge from outside who did what, but a single-author paper is relatively unambiguous). At Jodrell Bank, I met someone who knew him from Sussex and asked how much he worked, assuming it must be a lot. The reply was that he was more a 9-to-5 guy.

      • telescoper Says:

        Yes he worked regular hours on campus. He worked very efficiently, though, especially writing. Very few rewrites, in particular.

      • Adrian Burd Says:

        “Yes he worked regular hours on campus. He worked very efficiently, though, especially writing. Very few rewrites, in particular.”

        Something that sadly never rubbed off on me — I still find I have to do multiple revisions before I’m happy with what I’ve written.

        I seem to recall an interview in which he said that, when writing a book, he set himself a word target each evening of the week, and wrote until he met that target.

        I was, and still am, in awe of John’s notebooks. There was a great deal of information in them, his calculations, notes on papers he had read, general thoughts, ideas etc. I wonder if he still works in that way.

  3. Phillip Helbig Says:

    Something to do with vacuum energy, apparently; perhaps a good career start. 🙂

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