Mark Hughes

Senior Lecturer

Mark Hughes

Knowing that Jodrell Bank is part of the School, that Rutherford’s investigation of the nucleus was done just over the road, and that two of our academics were recently awarded Nobel prizes helps to foster a strong sense of pride in the School.

I'm currently focussed on teaching, though my previous research was in extragalactic astrophysics – in particular, the area of massive black holes in galaxies.

My teaching

I enjoy getting students to think about physics from a slightly different perspective. Sometimes thinking about a problem from more than one angle can help you to really understand it. Taking a concept that is challenging and seeing students develop a good understanding of the key ideas is a very rewarding experience for a lecturer.

One of the key challenges is encouraging students to think like a physicist; taking a problem, perhaps not knowing how to solve it but then having the determination to see the problem through to its solution. Physics isn't just about plugging numbers into an equation: you need to develop an understanding of what the equation means.

It’s important to be friendly, approachable and helpful. I hope students would use these words to describe me; however I'm not alone as this is how you’ll hear many students describing the staff here!

The School

I've been at the School since February 2009, though many years ago I was also an undergraduate here, so I've seen the School both as a student and as a member of staff. It's is an excellent place for all physicists - whether staff or students - with people who really care about both research and teaching. If you love physics, want an intellectual challenge that will stretch you, but also want to be in a friendly environment it’s a great place to be!

We are a large School and have a lot of staff who can teach a wide range of subjects. You can take units such as Quantum Physics to a very high level. At the same time, it is a very friendly place and students have a strong sense of identity with the School, helped by a rich scientific heritage. Knowing that Jodrell Bank is part of the School, that Rutherford’s investigation of the nucleus was done just over the road, and that two of our academics were recently awarded Nobel prizes helps to foster a strong sense of pride in the School.

Career highlights

Seeing students who have faced particular challenges graduate is always a rewarding experience. It is great to witness students I've taught go on to the next step in their chosen career path. A degree in physics is useful in many areas and it is good seeing students go further in their chosen direction.

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