Who Are We?
Head Of Department
Professor Mark Lester is Professor of Solar Terrestrial Physics.
His research interests are the plasma environments of the Earth and other planets, such as Mars, and how those plasma environments and planetary atmospheres are affected by the solar atmosphere and magnetic field.
He has used a variety of different data for this research including ground based radars, and other ground based instruments, such as auroral cameras and magnetometers, and space missions such as Cluster, IMAGE, Polar, Geotail and THEMIS.
Since 1997 Mark has been the PI for two of the radars which form the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) and from 2003 he has been the chair of the SuperDARN Executive Council.
Mark has published over 250 scientific papers in the refereed literature. He also has been involved in developing new radar techniques and novel instrumentation, such as space based auroral imaging instruments for future space missions.
Undergraduate Admissions Tutor
His primary research interests are in the theory of semiconductor nanostructures, including calculations of the electronic states of artificial atoms made from carbon nanotubes or graphene. Dr Roy also has long standing interests in scanning tunnelling microscopy and in X-ray absorption spectroscopy.
He is a lecturer within the department, teaching undergraduates courses on Waves and Fields, Quantum Mechanics, Numerical Methods, and Physics Special Topics.
Senior Undergraduate Tutor
Prof. Steve Milan is the Senior Tutor of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
He is an active research physicist with especial interest in understanding the influence of the solar wind on magnetized solar system bodies, a field with the catchy title of solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere-atmosphere coupling. This involves studying auroras, motions of the upper atmosphere, and observations of energetic particles and magnetic and electric fields in space. He is a member of the Radio and Space Plasma Physics research group.
As well as these research interests, Prof Milan teaches undergraduate courses, including fields such as oscillations, waves, and space plasma physics. He demonstrates in the undergraduate laboratory, and supervises research projects in a range of fields.
Postgraduate Admissions Tutors
Prof. Andrew Blain is the Postgraduate Admissions tutor with responsibility for dealing with applications to carry out PhD research in the Department.
He is an astronomer working in the area of galaxy formation, with a specific interest in observations at infrared wavelengths and from the most luminous galaxies that are powered by intense bursts of star formation or active galactic nuclei. He is a team member on the NASA WISE all-sky infrared survey explorer. He is a member of the X-Ray and Observational Astronomy research group at the University, and is currently teaching in relativity and optics.
Dr Richard Ambrosi is the Postgraduate Admissions tutor for the Department's MSc in Space Exploration Systems.