Who Are We?

Head Of Department

Paul O'BrienProfessor Paul O'Brien is Professor of Astrophysics and Space Science.

His research interests are directed at investigating compact objects in the universe. These include black holes in Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) and Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRB) at all wavelengths across a wide range in redshift. AGN and GRBs are some of the most luminous objects known.  This research involves the use of spectroscopic and imaging data, obtained via a wide variety of ground-based and orbiting observatories, many including instrumentation built at Leicester, such as XMM-Newton, Chandra and Swift. He is currently involved in the development of new observing facilities, including SVOM, CTA and Athena.

Undergraduate Admissions Tutor


Dr Simon Vaughan is the Undergraduate admissions tutor with responsibility for dealing with applications to study within the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester.


If you are interested in applying to study with us then please take a look at our admissions pages or email physics@le.ac.uk for more information.


Senior Undergraduate Tutor

Prof. Steve Milan

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

Andrew BlainProf. 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 AmbrosiDr Richard Ambrosi is the Postgraduate Admissions tutor for the Department's MSc in Space Exploration Systems.





Careers Tutor


Dr Mervyn Roy is the Undergraduate Careers tutor in the department.

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 senior lecturer within the department, teaching undergraduates courses on Waves and Fields, Quantum Mechanics, Numerical Methods, Quantum Theory of Solids, and Physics Special Topics.

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