I was an undergraduate at Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, California (1961-1965) graduating with a BSc in Physics, and did research at the University of California, Los Angeles, where I was awarded an MA (1966) and PhD (1971) in Astronomy. During this time I also worked on millimetre-wave astronomy at The Aerospace Corporation in Los Angeles. From 1971 to 1973 I was a Carnegie Fellow at the Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories, where I continued my research into stellar spectra and elemental abundances. I was appointed Lecturer in Astronomy at UCL in 1974 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1987. From 1985 to 1991 I was Tutor to Astronomy Students at UCL and was appointed Acting Director of the University of London Observatory in 1996 and Director in 1997.
My research interests are the spectra and compositions of stars, in particular the chemically peculiar stars of the upper main sequence; binary stars; stellar photometry; and the fundamental properties of stars (Mass, Radius, Luminosity, Temperature). I am especially interested in the class of stars known as HgMn or mercury-manganese stars, which have extremely odd compositions and high abundances of very heavy elements like Mn, Ga, Hg, Pt, Au, and Bi, and I did a study of the isotopic and hyperfine structures of spectral lines in some of these objects with data obtained with large telescopes such as the CFHT in Hawaii. I have also developed a widely used photometric calibration of the Stromgren photometric system (see also this) in collaboration with two former postdoctoral research assistants. For further details and links to recent publications on the abundance and diffusion of neon in HgMn stars please visit my home page (http://www.star.ucl.ac.uk/~mmd ).