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News Teaching Physics & Astronomy University Of Sheffield

The astronomy and astrophysics group within the Department of Physics & Astronomy is involved in a wide range of teaching and research activities. Our Department was ranked joint 7th in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, which also noted the world-leading output of our astronomy group. Our research interests cover two broad themes, the building blocks of galaxy evolution, and high time resolution astrophysics. The first observational sub-group encompasses the properties, formation and evolution of massive stars - including black hole binaries - star clusters, starbursts and the feedback effect of Active Galaxies. The high time resolution astrophysics sub-group exploit the ULTRACAM and ULTRASPEC instruments, to study various transient phenonena, including close binaries. ULTRASPEC is to be permanently mounted at the Thai National Observatory 2.4m telescope. Our observational strength is reflected by success with allocations on heavily oversubscribed ground-based (VLT, Gemini) and space-based (Hubble, Spitzer) telescopes. This is underpinned by growing theoretical interest, including simulations of star formation and star cluster evolution. Our research activities are supported by grants provided by STFC, Leverhulme Trust and the European Research Council, the latter supporting a new high time resolution instrument HiPERCAM. Recent group papers can be found via arXiv.org.

We teach three and four-year Physics & Astrophysics degree programmes. Our University has been awarded the UK University of the Year in the 2011 Times Higher Education Awards. Undergraduates have access to the rooftop robotic imaging telescope ROSA, plus a 16 inch Meade telescope equipped with an imager and spectrograph. An annual field trip to the pt5m telescope on La Palma is available. There is also the opportunity for M.Phys students to spend their third year studying in the United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, or their final year working as a support astronomer at the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes on La Palma. A broad range of undergraduate courses are available covering all aspects of astrophysics from the solar system, through stars and galaxies to cosmology, including lecture courses dedicated to astrobiology, dark matter and the history of astronomy. We jointly fund the Deep Sky Videos youtube channel on objects in the Messier Catalogue, telescopes and related aspects of astronomy.

NEWS Prof Clive Tadhunter is lead author of a study published in Nature which reveals that some supermassive black holes drive massive molecular outflows modifying the evolution of the host galaxy - see press release.

AWARDS Prof Vik Dhillon has received the 2013 Royal Astronomical Society Jackson-Gwilt Medal for the development and operation of ULTRACAM. The full RAS citation is provided here, with further details provided in this news item.

A list of PhD projects for prospective postgraduate students for Autumn 2015 entry is available here. Dedicated 3-4 year astronomy studentships are available (departmental and STFC-funded), the former particularly suitable for EU-based applicants.