I am a particle physicist and Visiting Professor in the School of Mathematics and Physics where I lecture on the undergraduate physics degree programme. I am also a tutor for MSc students on the Learning at Work programme at Portsmouth.
Most of my research career has been spent working on large international experiments based at the particle accelerators at the CERN laboratory in Geneva. Most recently, I led one of the research groups at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) studying the subtle differences between matter and anti-matter at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). I was also a leading member of the team that built the UK part of the world's largest computing grid which played a vital role in the discovery of the Higgs boson.
I am now a Honorary Scientist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and I am a Fellow of both the Institute of Physics (FinstP) and the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS). I have over 600 research publications.
I have lectured on the following modules on the BSc and MPhys Physics and Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology courses:
- M24199 Space Science and Applications of Physics (Year 1). Guest lectures.
- M24569 Introduction to Modern Physics and Astrophysics (Year 2). Lectures on the nuclear physics and particle physics components.
- M20281 Waves and Optics (Year 2). Tutorial lectures/problems and exam.
- M23525 Particle Physics (Year 3). Full lecture course.
- M25077 Project. Available for supervision of suitable projects in particle physics and applications.
I am happy to receive emails and calls on particle physics research. I am an experienced science communicator having delivered numerous public talks to a wide variety of audiences including science cafes, U3A groups, school masterclasses and on cruise ships. I also write a weekly science column for a local newspaper.
My research has focused on the elementary sub-atomic particles that make up the Universe and their fundamental interactions. This includes:
- Photoproduction of vector mesons.
- Electroweak interactions at electron-positron colliders.
- The origins of the matter-antimatter asymmetry (CP violation) via proton-proton collisions at the LHC.
I addition, I have collaborated on various technical projects:
- The construction of electromagnetic calorimeters (OPAL) and ring imaging Cherenkov detectors (LHCb).
- The Monte-Carlo simulation of physics processes, particularly electromagnetic showers (GEANT program).
- Distributed grid computing to analyse big data (GridPP and WLCG collaborations).
I started my research career at the University of Lancaster with my Ph.D. studies. This work was performed at the 5 GeV electron synchrotron (NINA) at Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire. I then spent 1978 - 1981 working for the University of Glasgow at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva studying the photoproduction of vector mesons using the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS).
In 1981, I won a CERN Fellowship and became a member of the Experimental Data Evaluation Group. Here, I developed software for the reconstruction of the complex particle physics interactions observed in particle detectors. I was also an author of the GEANT simulation program, which is now used extensively worldwide to understand particle interactions in the fields of particle physics, astronomy and medical physics.
In August 1983, I was appointed to a staff position at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Oxfordshire and commenced work developing the electromagnetic end-cap calorimeters for the OPAL experiment at the Large Electron Positron (LEP) collider. Over the period 1989-2001, OPAL produced a huge number of high precision measurements on the electroweak properties of the Z and W bosons and on the number of light neutrinos.
From 1998, I started developing international projects at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC); initially on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment and latterly on the Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) experiment.
In addition, I was an active member of the GridPP collaboration building a distributed computing grid across 17 UK institutions. This now forms part of the largest global computing grid and played a pivotal role in the discovery of the Higgs boson.
Ph.D., Lancaster University
1975 → 1978
Award Date: 1 Jan 1979
BSc (Hons), Lancaster University
1972 → 1975
Award Date: 1 Jul 1975
Associate Lecturer/Tutor, The Open University2014 → …
SEPnet Employer Engagement Co-ordinator, University of Southampton2014 → 2015
Deputy Research Division Head, Science and Technology Facilities Council2010 → 2012
Research Group Leader, Science and Technology Facilities Council2009 → 2012
Fellow (FInstP), Institute of Physics (U.K.)2006 → …
Fellow (FRAS), Royal Astronomical Society2005 → …
External Lecturer, University of Bath2002 → 2004
Principal Scientist, Science and Technology Facilities Council1983 → 2012
CERN Fellow, CERN1981 → 1983
Chartered Physicist (CPhys), Institute of Physics (U.K.)1979 → …
Scientific Associate & Collaborating Scientist, CERN1978 → 2019
Research Associate, University of Glasgow1978 → 1981
- QC Physics
- Q Science (General)
- QA76 Computer software
- QB Astronomy
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