Will Percival

Will Percival
Professor, Distinguished Research Chair in Astrophysics, Director, Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics
Location: PHY 216G
Phone: 519-888-4567 x43108


Professor Percival's research interests focus on the properties of the Universe on the largest scales. Surveys of three-dimensional galaxy positions provide a wealth of data both on the physics just after the Big-Bang when the seed fluctuations that will grow through gravity to become galaxies were created, and on the physics driving the evolution of the Universe today.

Research Interests

  • Observational cosmology
  • Cosmological structure formation
  • Cosmological models
  • Large-Scale structure
  • Galaxy surveys
  • Galaxy formation & evolution
  • Astrophysics and Gravitation

Scholarly Research

Large international teams are required to undertake galaxy surveys, and Professor Percival helps to run a number of experiments. In particular, he holds the position of Survey Scientist in the on-going extended-Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (eBOSS, www.sdss.org/surveys/eboss), and is a primary science coordinator for the future satellite mission Euclid ([http://sci.esa.int/euclid](http://sci.esa.int/euclid)). He is also working on the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI, [https://www.desi.lbl.gov/](https://www.desi.lbl.gov/)) and is involved in a number of other experiments and the use of their cosmological measurements.


  • 1999 PhD University of Oxford, Oxford, UK


  • Chinese Academy of Sciences "Distinguished Scientist'' fellowship 2016.
  • Co-recipient of the 2008 Royal Astronomical Society team award for the 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey.
  • Royal Astronomical Society 2008 Fowler Prize awarded to “individuals who have made a note-worthy contribution at an early stage of their research career”.
  • 2007 Philip Leverhulme Prize awarded to “outstanding scholars (normally under the age of 36) who have made a substantial and recognised contribution to their particular field of study”


  • ​European Space Agency Astronomy Working Group (2013-2017).
  • ​UK Space Agency Space Programme Advisory Committee (2013-17).
  • UK STFC Astronomy Grants Panel (2013-15).
  • Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes Science Advisory Committee (2011-13).

Affiliations and Volunteer Work

  • Director, Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics


  • PHYS 475 - Cosmology
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • W.J. Percival, (+26 co-authors), The 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey: The power spectrum and the matter content of the universe, 2001, MNRAS, 327, 1297 [arXiv:0105252]
  • S. Cole, W.J. Percival, (+27 co-authors), The 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey: power spectrum, 2005, MNRAS, 362, 505 [arXiv:0501174]
  • W.J. Percival, (+27 co-authors), Baryon Acoustic Oscillations in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7 Galaxy Sample, 2010, MNRAS, 401, 2148 [arXiv:0907.1660]
  • K.S. Dawson, J.-P. Kneib,W.J. Percival, (+142 co-authors), The SDSS-IV extended Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey: Overview and Early Data, 2016, AJ 151, 44 [arXiv:1508.04473]
  • D. Bianchi, W.J. Percival, Unbiased clustering estimation in the presence of missing observations, 2017, MNRAS 472, 1106 [arXiv:1703.02070]