Elected: 2021
Discipline: Physics and Astronomy
Professor Alex Murphy
Personal Chair of Nuclear and Particle Astrophysics, University of Edinburgh
Professor Murphy is a nuclear and particle astrophysicist at the University of Edinburgh, interested in the origin and nature of matter in the Universe. He obtained his BSc and PhD from the University of Birmingham where he studied nuclear structure, in particular exploring how nuclei can take on extraordinary shapes when excited and rotating. From there he moved to the Ohio State University as a postdoctoral researcher to work on a number of projects, most notably the design for a future supernova neutrino observatory, and leading several studies to determine the astrophysical rate of nuclear reactions involved in the production of very rare ‘p-process’ nuclei. In 2001 he moved back to the UK as a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, progressing to reader and professor. Ongoing projects include experimental and computational determination of the most important nuclear reactions involved in stellar nucleosynthesis, and the direct search for dark matter in deep underground laboratories. He has a keen interest in public engagement, especially initiatives that advance opportunities for future careers in STEM. He is a fellow of the Institute of Physics and the Royal Astronomical Society.