UCL Observatory (UCLO)


UCLO Research Students

Although research activities in astrophysics and planetary sciences are now conducted primarily on the Bloomsbury campus, for many years the Observatory was the UCL centre for such studies (and effectively constituted the entirety of the 'Department of Astronomy'); throughout this period it was still called the 'University of London Observatory'. A number of scientists who went on to hold senior positions undertook their PhD studies here. The following notes are developed from an uncredited listing, dating from approximately 1976, discovered in 2012 while disposing of old papers. Original annotations are reproduced directly (it is presumed that anyone without a forename and not identified as "Miss" is male).

Gilbert Fielder's 'Lunar Laboratory' was established in the Observatory Annexe in the mid-1960s, and John Guest, John Murray, and Lionel Wilson worked there. Fielder, Murray, and Wilson went on to academic posts elsewhere, but Guest built up a large group at the Annexe from ca. 1970 onwards (initially with Murray), researching into both terrestrial volcanism and planetary geophysics, before transferring to Bloomsbury.

The centre of gravity of astrophysics research began to move rapidly towards Bloomsbury when the Astronomy Department merged with Physics (1974). With the closure of the Annexe in 1998, and Guest's move from Physics & Astronomy to Geological Sciences (later Earth Sciences) on Aug 1 1999, planetary-science research at Mill Hill also came to an end.

Listings post-1976 are a work in progress, largely based on anecdotal evidence, although thesis submission dates are based on Senate House library records. We would be pleased to hear from anyone with additional information, particularly in relation to Guest's group at the Annexe.

Astronomy/Astrophysics Students
Miss Violet F. White1931–32 
C.V.C. Herbert1931–34 
C.M. Chao1937–39MSc.
I.H.A. Rahman1938–39 
P.C. Chaudhuri1938–39Transferred to Glasgow at outbreak of WWII
Miss E.M. Peachy1939–42PhD. Subsequently Professor Margaret Burbidge FRS
R.W. Pring1948PhD. Second Assistant at the Observatory, 1939–46; First Assistant 1946–48.
F. Steel1949–51MSc
K.R.W. Brewer1950–52MSc
Vincent C. Reddish1952–54PhD. Subsequently Astronomer Royal for Scotland.
A.S. Asaad1953–56PhD. Subsequently Director of the Helwan Observatory
J.S. Griffith1957–59PhD
Jeremy B. Tatum1957–60PhD. Subsequently Professor of Astronomy at the University of Victoria, and at the Dominion Observatory.
Th. Saemundsson1959–62PhD. Subsequently at the Institute of Geophysics, Reykjavik
Brian Warner1961–64PhD. Subsequently Professor of Astronomy at Cape Town
Bruce Woodgate1961–65PhD. Subsequently NASA (including PI on the HST STIS instrument)
Carole Jordan1962–65PhD. Subsequently FRS, Professor of Astrophysics at Oxford.
J.A. Dawe1963–67PhD. Subsequently ROE, RGO, and ANU
L.M. Dougherty1964MSc (external student). Subsequently Head of the Department of Physics, University of Huddersfield
T. Kiang1965PhD. Subsequently Professor, Dunsink Observatory
Alan E. Wright1965–68PhD. Subsequently CSIRO, Australia
Lionel Wilson1965–68PhD. Subsequently Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Lancaster
M.P. Jackson "Resigned"
T. Hext "Resigned"
Michael J. Disney1966–68PhD. Subsequently Professor of Astronomy, Cardiff
R. Bennett1966–70PhD
Miss A. Brown1966–71PhD
R.S. Picton1968–71"With RAF, still to present thesis"
Miss S. Youseff1968–71PhD. Subsequently lecturer, University of Cairo
Peter D. Bennewith1969–74PhD. Subsequently lecturer, University of Pretoria
David J. Carnochan1969–75PhD. Subsequently Research Associate at UCL, before joining UCL administration.
J. Christopher Blades1970–75PhD. Subsequently worked for ESA, and at STScI
Simon Pepper1971–75PhD
Jon Darius1971–76PhD. Subsequently Senior Curator at the Science Museum
Clive Chapman1972–?PhD; no thesis record at UoL (did not complete?)
Jeff Settle1973–1977PhD 1983. Subsequently Senior Research Fellow, Environmental Systems Science Centre.
Graham L. Pearce1975–PhD 1980
David Baines PhD (did not complete)
Jerry Jacobs PhD (did not complete)
Stephen J. Fossey1983–1986PhD 1990. Subsequently Senior Teaching Fellow at ULO
Paul C.T. Rees1983–1986PhD 1990. Subsequently Professor of Optics, Glyndwr University
Ian A. Crawford1984–1988PhD 1988. Subsequently Professor of Planetary Science and Astrobiology, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Birkbeck College
Peter K. Thomas1990 - 1995Part-time PhD 1995. UCLO Observatory Manager 1987–2013.


Earth-/Planetary-Science Students
Antony W. Brian1996? ?PhD 2002.
Mark H. Bulmer1990?–?PhD 1994
Ben Bussey1991?–?PhD 1995. Subsequently Johns Hopkins University (Senior Staff Scientist, Applied Physics Laboratory)
Paul Butterworth1974–1981PhD 1981. Subsequently Professorial Lecturer, George Washington University, and Lead Scientist, NASA/GSFC
Julie Cave?–1991PhD 1992
Duncan L. Copp1993–1997PhD 1997. Subsequently film/TV producer.
Ann Edwards PhD (did not complete).
David Heather1994?–?PhD 2000.
Wyn Hughes1986–1991PhD 1991. Subsequently Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge University Hospitals.
Christopher Kilburn1979–1984PhD 1984. Subsequently UCL Earth Sciences (Director, Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre)
Mike G. Lancaster1990?–?PhD 1994.
Rosaly M.C. Lopes1979–1986PhD. Subsequently JPL (Deputy Manager, Planetary Science)
Brendan J. Moore? PhD; no thesis record at UoL (did not complete?)
John B. Murray1967–1980Subsequently Cambridge (PhD), OU
W.P. O'Donnell1975–?PhD 1980.
David Pearce1985?–?PhD (did not complete).
Cordula Robinson1987–91PhD 1991. Subsequently Center for Remote Sensing, Boston University, and College of Professional Studies, Northeastern University
Gill Thornhill1983–88PhD 1988. Subsequently Environmental Systems Science Centre, and Research Fellow, UCL Dept. of Geography.
Charles R. Wiles1985?–?PhD (did not complete).