I grew up in West Yorkshire, attending King James' School and Greenhead College, before studying mathematics and astronomy (BSc) at University College London (1986–89) followed by a PhD in the UCL astrophysics group, under the supervision of Professor Allan Willis and Dr Linda Smith (1989–93). I spent five years as a Research Council (PPARC) funded postdoc at UCL, before receiving a Royal Society University Research Fellowship which I held at UCL (1998–2003) and Sheffield (2003–06). I was initially appointed to Lectureship in Sheffield (2003–05), followed by a Readership (2005–06) and Personal Chair (2007–).

I have previously served on the Royal Society University Research Fellowship A(i) appointment committee (2015-2016, Deputy Chair, 2017-2020).

I was the Director of Learning and Teaching of the Department of Physics and Astronomy from 2012–16, Head of Department from Jan 2018 to Aug 2022, having earlier been interim HoD between June 2016 and January 2017. I was also a member of University Senate between 2011-2020.

Positions held and memberships

I have served on the following national and international committees:


I have contributed the following (guest) blog posts:

UK science policy

I have made the following contributions to UK science policy: