Staff Directory

Avatars2412

Contact Details

Log in to update your profile

Qualifications

BSc (Hons) 1st class, Geophysical Science (Univ. of Southampton)(1989)
PhD, Astronomy (Univ. of Southampton)(1992)

About

Paul is Director of the Faulkes Telescopes Project, the UK National Schools’ Astronomer (previously funded by STFC Science and Society fellowships and the Dills Faulkes Educational Trust) and the Space Ambassador for Wales (funded by the ESERO UK programme, part of the European Space Agency). He has spent over 20 years researching massive stars, neutron stars and black holes, and working in astronomy education, outreach and science communication.

His current role primarily involves astronomy education and outreach, and in particular promoting online STEM education through robotic, Internet-controlled telescopes, located on Hawaii and Australia (Faulkes Telescope Project). These form the start of a global telescope network, primarily for research but with strong educational possibilities.
http://www.faulkes-telescope.com/

He set up the “Down to Earth” educational programme, which is now run in collaboration with the National Museum of Wales, and funded by STFC and the Royal Astronomical Society.
http://education.down2earth.eu/

At USW, Paul heads a small group dealing with both astronomical research and education/outreach, and teaches on the BSc in Observational Astronomy.
http://courses.glam.ac.uk/courses/596-bsc-hons-observational-astronomy

Experience

Postdoctoral Research Associate at Univ. of Southampton (1992-1994)
Lecturer in Astronomy at Univ. of Sussex (1994-1999)
Head of Education at National Space Centre, Leicester (1999-2000)
Senior Lecturer in Astronomy at Glamorgan (2001-2003)
Honorary Lecturer at Leicester University (1999-2004)
Hudson Senior Research Fellow in Astronomy at Cardiff University (2002-2004),
Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Open University (2006-2010)
Lecturer, Cardiff Uni Centre for Lifelong Learning (2003-present)

Outside of astronomy research, Paul was the first Head of Education at the National Space Centre, and an Educational Programmes Consultant at the Techniquest science discovery centre in Cardiff (2002-2006). He has held two STFC Science in Society Personal Fellowships at Cardiff University (2002-2011) and was Director of Education and Public Outreach for the US-based Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope (2007-2009) project.

Career highlights:

i. Discovery and investigation of circumstellar disc loss in X Persei (PhD, 1993)
ii. Awarded University of Sussex inaugural Teaching Excellence Award (1997)
iii. Discovery of optical counterpart to millisecond X-ray pulsar “missing link”, SAX J1808-365 (1998)
iv. Establishment of first Challenger Learning Centre outside North America (1999)
v. Establishment of National Space Centre and associated educational programmes (2000)
vi. PPARC National Award for Public Understanding of Science (2000)
vii. Awarded Walter Hudson Senior Research Fellowship, Cardiff University (2002)
viii. Presenter, BBC2 “Final Frontier” series (2001/02), “All Night Star Party” (2003), “Venus Transit” (2004) – the latter won the Royal Television award for Life Long Learning and Multimedia.
ix. Appointment as Director, Faulkes Telescope Project (2002)
x. Development and validation of new BSc Astronomy and Space degree (Glamorgan)(2003)
xi. PPARC National Award for Public Understanding of Science (2004)
xii. Head of UK outreach and education, NASA Deep Impact project, TV/radio commentator (2005)
xiii. Awarded STFC Science in Society Fellowship (2006)
xiv. Appointment as Director of EPO, Las Cumbres Observatory (2007)
xv. Renewal of STFC Science in Society Fellowship (2009)
xvi. Development and validation of new BSc Observational Astronomy degree (Glamorgan)(2010)
xvii. Space Ambassador for Wales (2010)
xviii. Appointed Chair of Astronomy Education (Glamorgan) (2012)
xix. Appointed President of the Association for Science Education Cymru (2013)

Responsibilities

Director, Faulkes Telescope Project
Director, Down2Earth project
UK National Schools’ Astronomer
Space Ambassador for Wales (ESERO UK, ESA)
UK lead, EU “Go Lab” project (FP7)
UK lead, “Galileo Teacher Training Programme”
President, Association for Science Education Cymru
Secretary, “Global Hands on Universe” project

Publications

Over 55 papers published (1991-2013) in refereed national/international astronomy journals, and many other science education/communication/popular astronomy articles.

Topics covered include: Radial velocity studies of X-ray binaries; Multiwavelength studies of X-ray binaries; Be stars and circumstellar discs; Physical parameters of hot stars; Science Education and Communication; popular astronomy.

External

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
British Astronomical Association
Higher Education Academy (Physical Sciences Committee)
Spaceguard UK

Research

Current areas of interest: Astronomy
X-ray binary systems
Be stars
Massive stars
Open clusters
Asteroids and comets
Mass extinctions and impacts

Current areas of interest: Related
Robotic telescopes
Astronomy education and outreach (schools, FE/HE, public)
Online STEM education

Areas of Expertise

Astronomy
Space science
Science education

Twitter

@spaceambassador

If you are a journalist on deadline and you need to speak with a member of university staff with particular expertise, please contact the Press Office.