Space research

Our researchers work in diverse areas of Astrophysics, Atmospheric Physics and Mathematics, including both pure and applied research. The Centre for Astrophysics Research and the Mathematics and Mathematical Physics research group aim to expand human knowledge on scales ranging from microscopic quantum physics to the large scale structure of the universe, taking in planetary systems around other stars along the way. For example, we played a key role in the 2016 discovery of a potentially habitable planet orbiting Proxima Centauri. More recently we co-led the 2018 discovery of a planet orbiting Barnard's star, the second nearest stellar system to ours.

Our research in the Centre for Atmospheric and Climate Physics Research and the Centre for Research in Biodetection Technology also brings practical benefits in climate modelling, measurements of airborne pollution and bio-particle detection. In November 2018 we officially opened the University of Hertfordshire LIDAR within our Atmospheric Remote Sensing Laboratory. This new laser facility is a key part of the European infrastructure for remote sensing. It has recently been selected as a ground station in support of the European Space Agency's AEOLUS Earth Observation satellite.

Dr Philip Lucas

My research focuses on star formation, brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets, with an emphasis on large time domain surveys of the Milky Way.

I am a Reader in Astrophysics in the School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics at the University of Hertfordshire. I studied at Oxford University, with 1st class honours in Physics in 1993 and then a doctorate (D.Phil), followed by a postdoctoral research position.

My work under Prof Patrick Roche was in the areas of star formation, infrared instrumentation, brown dwarfs and exoplanets. Moving to Hertfordshire in 1999, I was a PPARC/STFC research fellow for 8 years, using polarimetry, 3D radiative transfer modelling and wide-field infrared imaging to study newborn stars, brown dwarfs and exoplanets. I currently work on time domain astrophysics, leading large public surveys of the Milky Way. My research is based in the Centre for Astrophysics.