4 October 2013 - This story is in archive

Dr James Geach from the University of Hertfordshire’s Centre for Astrophysics Research has been awarded a highly coveted University Research Fellowship (URF) from the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science.

One of forty-one new fellows

The University Research Fellowship scheme is extremely competitive and Dr Geach is one of only forty-one new fellows to be appointed by the Royal Society in 2013.  It aims to provide outstanding scientists, who have the potential to become the leaders in their chosen fields, with the opportunity to build an independent research career. 

One of the most prestigious awards

Dr Geach said: "As one of the most prestigious awards available to young researchers, the Royal Society University Research Fellowship scheme is a fantastic opportunity for me to establish myself as a world leader in the field of extragalactic gas studies, based at the University of Hertfordshire's Centre for Astrophysics Research (CAR).

"The Centre has an international reputation for expertise in the study of the astrophysics of star formation, and I am excited to become a member of this group."

How did stars and galaxies form?

Dr Geach will be carrying out fundamental research that aims to answer some of the biggest questions astronomers face, like how did our Sun, and indeed all stars in the Universe, form and "how did galaxies form and evolve?" 

Our own Milky Way is only one of the billions of galaxies that have evolved into an enormous number of different types over a time-span equivalent to nearly three times the age of the Earth.  Studying the differences in the properties of the various galaxies is central to our understanding of the Universe and its contents.

Dr Geach's Fellowship project is "Exploring the molecular universe: the missing link of galaxy formation".  He will be studying the gas content of very distant galaxies using the very latest, cutting-edge astronomical facilities, such as the Atacama Large Millimetre Array in Chile.

He concluded: "For young researchers like myself, there awaits a treasure-trove of new discoveries. This Fellowship will put me at the forefront of this pioneering new era of exploration."