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- Professor of Astrophysics
- Dept of Physics & Astronomy
- Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences
I was a 'Physics and Astronomy' undergraduate at UCL (1979-1982) and graduated with a Ph.D. in hot star astronomy in 1985. My route to Professor at UCL has been via an appointment as a Royal Society University Research Fellow. I have been awarded the Pol and Christiane Swings research prize by the Science Division of the Royal Academy of Belgium. In 2000, I was awarded the UCL MAPS Faculty Distinguished Teacher Award, followed by the Departmental teaching prize in 2007, and the MAPS Faculty Teaching award in 2010.
I was the Programme Director for the Natural Sciences degree between 2008-2011. I am currently Director of Teaching and Deputy-Head in the Physics & Astronomy department.
I am heavily involved in Outreach projects and have written several popular science books, inclduing Understanding the Universe, Visions of the Universe, Wonders of the Planets and Stars: A Journey through stellar birth, life and death. I've authored a series of astronomy books for children, including my latest books, Wonders of the Planets, Science Crazy (winner of the SLA Book award 2013), The Universe Rocks and Night Sky Watcher (shortlisted for the 2015 Royal Society Young People's Book Prize).
My research interests are focused on studies of outflows at the extremes of stellar evolution. Current projects aim to investigate the nature of mass-loss via stellar winds in a broad range of astrophysical settings, including: The structure of fast outflows from the central stars of planetary nebulae, mass-loss, clumping and the origin of structure in the winds of luminous OB stars, accretion-disc outflows in cataclysmic variables and, the origin and nature of mass outflows from young classical T Tauri stars. I am the PI leading an international consortium on the e-MERLIN Legacy project, COBRaS, which will exploit over 300hrs of e-MERLIN radio data. The work relates to many fundamental astrophysical processes, including radiation hydrodynamics and plasma physics, accretion discs, the evolution of stars, the dynamics and enrichment of the interstellar medium, star formation, and the functioning of galaxies. The studies are based on line-synthesis analyses coupled with multi-wavelength data sets, spanning far-UV, optical and near-IR spectroscopy, plus radio and mm observations. More details are provided on the Hot Star Group web page.
|1985||PhD||Doctor of Philosophy – Astronomy||University College London|
|1982||BSc Hons||Bachelor of Science (Honours) – Physics and Astronomy||University College London|