Dr Richard Alexander

photoReader in Theoretical Astrophysics

MPhys (Edinburgh), PhD (Cambridge)

Tel: 0116 252 3543

Email: richard.alexander@leicester.ac.uk

Office: Room G44B, Physics & Astronomy


Originally from Fife, Scotland, Dr Alexander studied for his MPhys (Astrophysics) degree at the University of Edinburgh, before moving to the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge for his PhD.  He then spent two years as a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Colorado (USA) and two and a half years as a research fellow at Leiden Observatory (the Netherlands), before joining the Department as a Lecturer in 2009.  Dr Alexander held a Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Advanced Fellowship from 2009-15, and in 2013 was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize by the Leverhulme Trust.  He was promoted to Reader in 2015.  A full CV is available from Dr Alexander's personal website.

Research interests

My research looks at how planets form in discs around young stars like our Sun, how stars form, and how super-massive black holes grow. Most of my work involves building theoretical and numerical models of these systems, in order to try and understand how they behave and evolve. Consequently I'm a frequent user of various supercomputers, notably the ALICE and DiRAC machines here in Leicester. For a more detailed description, please see my the research page on my personal website.


  • PA1140: Waves and Quanta.
  • Module AS8: Formation of Planetary Systems (post-graduate), taught through the Midlands Physics Alliance Graduate School (MPAGS).
  • Undergraduate admissions tutor.

Selected Publications

The dispersal of protoplanetary disks, R.Alexander, I.Pascucci, S.Andrews, P.Armitage & L.Cieza, in Protostars & Planets VI, eds. H.Beuther, C.Dullemond, Th.Henning & R.Klessen, University of Arizona Press, p475-496 (2014).

A limit on eccentricity growth from global 3-D simulations of disc-planet interactions, A.C.Dunhill, R.D.Alexander & P.J.Armitage, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol 428, p3072-3082 (2013).

Giant planet migration, disk evolution, and the origin of transitional disks, R.D.Alexander & P.J.Armitage, The Astrophysical Journal, vol 704, p989-1001 (2009).

Massive black hole binary mergers within sub-pc scale gas discs, J.Cuadra, P.J.Armitage, R.D.Alexander & M.C.Begelman, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol 393, p1423-1432 (2009).

[NeII] emission line profiles from photoevaporative disc winds , R.D.Alexander, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Letters), vol 391, L68-L68 (2008).

A full publication list is available here. A more detailed list, with links to electronic journal articles and preprints, is available on my personal website.


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