Professor Paul Crowther
My primary research interests involve studies of massive stars in the Milky Way and other star-forming galaxies, for which I have co-authored 190+ refereed papers, including an Annual Review article on the Properties of Wolf-Rayet stars and co-authored a monograph From luminous hot stars to starburst galaxies, published in the Cambridge Astrophysics Series.
I have written about the 'Birth, life and death of massive stars' for Astronomy and Geophysics from the 2012 International Astronomical Union (IAU) General Assembly (GA) and the Tarantula Nebula for Galaxies in 2019.
The above image shows the LMC giant star forming region, the Tarantula Nebula, and its dominant ionising star cluster R136. The brightest sources in R136 were the focus of a study that I led a study which resulted in a 'Stars just got bigger' press release from ESO in July 2010. Read the FAQ page or watch the Deep Sky Videos film for more information.
Activities involve a HST/STIS spectroscopic study of the R136 cluster (see Hubble unveils monster stars press release from ESA in March 2016), an ESO Large Programme VLT/FLAMES Tarantula Survey, a deep Chandra X-ray study entitled Tarantula – Revealed by X-rays (T-ReX) plus VLT/MUSE observations of the central ionised nebula NGC2070.
My research group comprises one postdoc (Dr Joachim Bestenlehner since April 2017), and one incoming PhD student Thaer Koosa. I usually teach several astrophysics courses, but administrative duties currently limit my teaching to Introduction to Astrophysics (PHY104) and a component of Stellar Evolution (PHY404).
Undergraduate third and fourth year projects are closely related to my research interests, for example the Wolf-Rayet database assembled by two MPhys students.
I've contributed to the Deep Sky Videos channel and co-organised Sounds of the Cosmos – a performance of the Planets Suite with astronomy visuals by graphic designers Human interspersed with a short narrative overview of astronomy for Festival of the Mind.
The performance was recommissioned for 2015 Doc/Fest involving a reworked version of Doc/Fest: Sounds of the Cosmos at the Crucible Theatre. A further performance took place at the 2015 Latitude Festival.