Professor of Astrophysics Education, The Open University

I've worked at the Open University since 1992 and am now Professor of Astrophysics Education in the School of Physical Sciences. I'm a former Vice President of the Royal Astronomical Society.

My research interests are in various aspects of time domain astrophysics with a current focus on stellar photometry from wide field surveys to investigate close binary stars. I carry out research on all sorts of variable stars, including white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes. I lead a Zooniverse project where citizen science volunteers can identify and classify the lightcurves of 1.5 million variable stars observed by SuperWASP.

I am passionate about outreach and public engagement - being both a STEMnet ambassador and a public engagement ambassador for the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement. I wrote a story book about Exoplanets for young children called "Oogle-Flip and the planet adventure"; I co-wrote the series of "60 second adventures in Astronomy"; and am a frequent Academic Consultant for OU/BBC astronomy co-productions,

My Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath number is 13.

Disclaimer: notwithstanding the house style of the Conversation - I realise that “the Moon”, “the Sun”, and “the Solar System” should be capitalised in my articles, but am unable to change this.


  • –present
    Professor of Astrophysics Education, The Open University


  • 1988 
    Leicester University, PhD X-ray Astronomy
  • 1985 
    Leicester University, BSc Physics with Astrophysics

Professional Memberships

  • Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • Fellow of the Institute of Physics
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the International Astronomical Union