Professor Graham Smith BA PhD FRAS SFHEA

School of Physics and Astronomy
Professor of Physics and Astronomy

Contact details

School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Graham Smith observes gravitational lenses with powerful ground- and space-based telescopes, aiming to constrain the physics of large-scale structure, galaxy formation and evolution, compact objects, and the cosmological model.

He is best known for his pioneering measurements of the morphology-density relation of galaxies at high-redshift, introducing gravitational lensing in to galaxy cluster cosmology experiments, founding and leading the Local Cluster Substructure Survey (LoCuSS), and leading contributions to opening up the new research field of multi-messenger gravitational lensing.


  • SFHEA, Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2017
  • PhD Astrophysics, Ustinov College, Durham University, 2002
  • ACA, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, 1994-1999
  • BA Physics, Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford, 1991


Graham Smith read Physics at the University of Oxford 1988-1991, and was the first member of his family to attend university. In 1991 he returned to his native Yorkshire to join Arthur Andersen, with whom he qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1994, and spent most of the 1990s working in their Business Consulting practice.

After returning to academia in 1999, he graduated from Durham University with a PhD in Astrophysics in 2002, before spending three years as a Postdoctoral Scholar at the California Institute of Technology. He returned to the UK in 2005 as a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, and is now a Professor in Birmingham’s School of Physics and Astronomy.

Graham received the Royal Astronomical Society’s Fowler Award in 2007, was co-recipient of the Astronomical Society of Japan’s Excellent Paper Award in 2012, and was awarded a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship in 2021.

He has also held honorary faculty positions at the California Institute of Technology (2005-2008) and the University of Bradford’s School of Management (1994-1996).


  • Undergraduate programme lead: Physics and Astrophysics
  • Year 2: Observational Astronomy
  • Year 2: Academic tutor
  • Year 2: Astrophysics projects
  • Year 3: Pastoral tutor
  • Year 3: General physics
  • Year 4: MSci project supervision

Postgraduate supervision

PhDs in multi-messenger gravitational lensing, and applications to fundamental physics, astrophysics and cosmology.


Research themes

  • gravitational lensing
  • gravitationally lensed explosive transients
  • multi-messenger gravitational lensing
  • Vera Rubin Observatory and LSST
  • cosmology
  • galaxy clusters
  • large-scale structure
  • galaxy evolution

Current research responsibilities

  • Co-chair, Rubin/LSST Strong Lensing Science Collaboration
  • Commissioning Liaison, Rubin/LSST Strong Lensing Science Collaboration
  • Member, System Integration Test and Commissioning (SIT-Com), Vera Rubin Observatory
  • Commissioning Scientist, LSST:UK Science Consortium
  • Executive Board Member, LSST:UK Science Consortium
  • Principal Investigator, Gravitationally Lensed Gravitational Wave Hunters
  • Member, Collaboration Council, LS4 Collaboration
  • Co-PI, 4MOST Strong Lensing Spectroscopic Legacy Survey (4SLSLS)
  • Member, Euclid consortium and Euclid Strong Lensing Science Working Group

Other activities

  • Panelist/referee for: Science and Technology Facilities Council; The Royal Society; Leverhulme Trust; St John’s College University of Cambridge.
  • Panelist/referee for: NASA; European Research Council; Dutch Research Council; National Science Centre, Poland; Israeli Science Foundation; SMASH, Slovenia.
  • Co-organiser, Astrophysics Seminars and Colloquia
  • Director, University of Birmingham Observatory (2012-2016)
  • Astrophysics Lead, Midland Physics Alliance Graduate School (2010-2013)
  • Chair, Gemini Observatory UK National Time Allocation Committee (2009-2011)
  • Member, Gemini Observatory International Time Allocation Committee (2009-2011)


Selected Publications

  • Smith G. P., et al., 2023, MNRAS, 520, 702; Discovering gravitationally lensed gravitational waves: predicted rates, candidate selection, and localization with the Vera Rubin Observatory
  • Smith G. P., et al., 2018, MNRAS, 475, 3823; What if LIGO's gravitational wave detections are strongly lensed by massive galaxy clusters?
  • - Okabe O. & Smith G. P., 2016, MNRAS, 461, 3794; LoCuSS: weak-lensing mass calibration of galaxy clusters
  • Smith G. P., et al., 2016, MNRAS, 456, L74; LoCuSS: Testing hydrostatic equilibrium in galaxy clusters
  • Okabe O., Smith G. P., et al., 2013, ApJL, 769, 35; LoCuSS: The Mass Density Profile of Massive Galaxy Clusters at z = 0.2
  • Marrone D., Smith G. P., et al., 2012, ApJ, 754, 119; LoCuSS: The Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect and Weak-lensing Mass Scaling Relation
  • Okabe O., et al., 2010, PASJ, 62, 811; LoCuSS: Subaru Weak Lensing Study of 30 Galaxy Clusters
  • Richard J., Smith G. P., et al., 2010, MNRAS, 404, 325; LoCuSS: first results from strong-lensing analysis of 20 massive galaxy clusters at z = 0.2
  • Smith G. P., et al., 2009, ApJ, 707, 163; Hubble Space Telescope Observations of a Spectacular New Strong-Lensing Galaxy Cluster: MACS J1149.5+2223 at z = 0.544
  • Haines C. P., Smith G. P., et al., 2009,ApJ, 704, 126; LoCuSS: The Mid-Infrared Butcher-Oemler Effect
  • Smith G. P., et al., 2005, MNRAS, 359, 417; A Hubble Space Telescope lensing survey of X-ray luminous galaxy clusters - IV. Mass, structure and thermodynamics of cluster cores at z= 0.2
  • Smith G. P., et al., 2005, ApJ, 620, 78; Evolution since z = 1 of the Morphology-Density Relation for Galaxies
  • Smith G. P., et al., 2002, MNRAS, 330, 1; A Hubble Space Telescope lensing survey of X-ray-luminous galaxy clusters - II. A search for gravitationally lensed EROs
  • Smith G. P., et al., 2001, ApJ, 552, 493; A Hubble Space Telescope Lensing Survey of X-Ray Luminous Galaxy Clusters. I. A383

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