Paul O'Brien

Hi. I work in the X-ray and Observational Astronomy Group at the Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Leicester.  In an earlier life I was in the astrophysics group at the University of Oxford and before that in the UV astronomy group at University College London.

Most of my research is directed at investigating Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) and Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRB) at all wavelengths across a wide range in redshift. These include some of the most luminous objects in the Universe. My main areas of study are:

If you are interested in research on AGN or GRBs (or other areas) at Leicester, you can find out more about what we do here.

My research involves the use of spectroscopic and imaging data, obtained via a wide variety of ground-based and orbiting observatories. As AGN and GRBs emit over the entire electromagnetic spectrum it is essential to combine data from as many wavelengths as possible. Observational astronomy always demands new facilities, so at Leicester we are involved in many instrumentation and software projects. Recently we provided hardware for XMM-Newton, Chandra and Swift and ASTROSAT. We are currently building instruments for new missions including the mid-infrared instrument on JWST. Over the longer term, we are involved in new missions, including Athena and SVOM. Closer to the ground, we are members of the UK consortium involved in the radio telescope array LOFAR.

Much of my research and other work done in the Department is collaborative, involving scientists in the UK, Europe and the USA. I'm a member of the Space and High Energy Astrophysics Division (XI) of the International Astronomical Union, the body which oversees astronomy worldwide. I'm also a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and its US equivalent, the American Astronomical Society.

I teach a variety of physics and astronomy topics on the undergraduate BSc and MPhys degrees at Leicester. I am currently Head of Department.

Contact Address: Professor Paul O'Brien
X-ray and Observational Astronomy Group
Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of Leicester 
University Road 
Leicester LE1 7RH
+44 (0)116 252 5203 (direct) 
+44 (0)116 252 3311