Hot stars, interstellar medium, solar physics, atomic physics, plasma physics.
I am currently the Head of School of Mathematics and Physics, and try to fit in research whenever time permits. My PhD was on the study of OB-type stars at high Galactic latitudes, and I still work in this area 25 years later, in collaboration with Philip Dufton. Current topics of interest include the study of hypervelocity stars and post-Asymptotic Giant Branch objects, in particular those in globular clusters.
Another of my research fields is solar physics, including the assessment of UV, EUV and X-ray line ratio diagnostics, particularly using data from the SERTS missions. In collaboration with Mihalis Mathioudakis, I work on high-cadence solar imaging, and we have recently obtained funding to build a state-of-the-art solar imager called ROSA (Rapid Oscillations in the Solar Atmosphere), due to be completed in 2008.
In 2003 I was awarded a William Penney Research Fellowship by AWE Aldermaston, to work on a number of topics related to plasma physics, including laboratory astrophysics (i.e. laboratory plasmas which mimic those found in astronomy) and atomic physics. Much of this work is in collaboration with Prof Steve Rose at Imperial College, and colleagues at major US laboratories, including the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Robert Ryans and myself have produced a presentation for schools and the general public, which uses clips from films and tv shows to illustrate how accurate the science is in science-fiction movies and shows such as Star Trek and Star Wars. This has proved to be a lot more popular than any of our research talks.
My Honours include the William Penney Fellowship mentioned above, and I was also an SERC Advanced Fellow from 1986-1989 and a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Fellow during 1995-1996. I have served on several Research Council committees, including Chair of the PPARC Panel for the Allocation of Telescope Time for the period 1998-2001. Currently, I am an assessor for the Georgian National Science Foundation, and a Collaborating Scientist for the SERTS and EUNIS solar rocket missions. I have obtained significant research grants from a number of sources, including PPARC, EPSRC, UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), AWE and the Royal Society. My research has also been supported by studentships from UKAEA and AWE via the Co-operative Award in Science and Technology (CAST) and Co-operative Award in Science and Engineering (CASE) schemes.