I am an ERC starter grant holder at the University of Exeter leading a project called 'Localstar'. The aim of this project is to understand more about giant molecular clouds and star formation in our and nearby galaxies. The principal part of my research involves modelling galaxies to understand how giant molecular clouds (GMCs), the sites of star formation in galaxies, form and evolve. The main difficulty with studying star formation in galaxies is the immense range in scales between galaxies and stars. Much of the research in astrophysics concerns the formation of stars in molecular clouds However this misses out the physics of how GMCs form, as governed by large scale processes such as spiral shocks, self gravity and stellar feedback. This is what I work on. I have also done research into spiral structure in galaxies, in particular showing how even detailed features in the famous Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) are reproduced by its interaction with a companion. Please take a look at the links on the left to see more about these areas of research. If you are interested in doing a PhD in this field, please also check out the links under opportunities!
For a list of PhD projects being offered by the Exeter astrophysics group for 2015 please see here.