One of the aspects of teaching I most enjoy is that moment with when you’re discussing a problem with a student and suddenly what had been an unfathomable mess becomes crystal clear to them.
As a very large School, we have researchers working in almost every area of physics and astrophysics, which means we can bring diversity to our teaching. We also work hard to ensure that even though there are a lot of people here, we interact with a wide range of colleagues and students which helps to foster a friendly and inclusive atmosphere.
Most of my teaching takes place in the lab or tutorials, and for me the most important thing is to create an atmosphere where students feel comfortable in discussing their work with me so that I can guide them in learning to think their way through problems.
Day to day, one of the aspects of teaching I most enjoy is that moment when you're discussing a problem with a student and suddenly what had been an unfathomable mess becomes crystal clear to them.
I've stayed in touch with most of my former PhD students, and I enjoy seeing how their careers are progressing. For me, one of the measures of success when a student completes their course is that they have fulfilled - or exceeded - their potential.
I study Planetary Nebulae, which aren't actually to do with planets, but are the beautiful nebulae formed as a normal, low-mass star - like our sun - reaches the end of its life.
Mainly, I do this by observing the optical spectra from these nebulae and trying to work out from the red or blue shift of the light their 3-d structure and motion. They are rarely spherical like their parent stars, and I am interested in what influence a binary central star can have on the formation and evolution of the surrounding nebula.
One of my career highlights was showing that the Etched Hourglass nebula is firing out bullets of gas at about 500km/s.