The University of Southampton

Professor Mark Sullivan named new Head of Physics and Astronomy

Published: 18 December 2018
Professor Mark Sullivan

Astrophysicist Professor Mark Sullivan says he will seek to reinforce the University of Southampton’s status as one of the best places in the world to study physics and astronomy as its new of Head of School.

Professor Mark Sullivan, a pioneering researcher in supernova cosmology and physics, replaces Professor Jonathan Flynn who will complete his term as Head of School in early 2019.

He inherits a high-performing school that was ranked 6th in the Guardian University Guide 2019 and 10th in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019. The School has also been placed in the top three in the Russell Group for student satisfaction over the past four National Student Surveys*.

Mark says: “It’s a great honour to be appointed as Head of Physics and Astronomy. This is an outstanding, vibrant school that I am excited to have the opportunity to lead. Over the next few years, I am looking forward to building on our world-class research and education, and providing the environment that will allow all students and staff to achieve their full potential.”

Mark’s research interests include the study of the explosive deaths of stars, called supernovae, and an exploration of the observational properties of dark energy and our accelerating universe. He is a prominent member of the Southampton Astronomy Group and is involved in the longstanding Public European Southern Observatory Spectroscopic Survey for Transient Objects (PESSTO), the Dark Energy Survey, the 4MOST Consortium and the future Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

Mark is also the Principle of the STFC Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Intensive Science (DISCnet), a postgraduate training centre led by Southampton and involving partners from across the South East Physics Network (SEPnet). DISCnet is a centre of innovative education, training and research in data intensive science for postgraduate students, training them in big data handling, data analytics, and the latest statistical and machine learning techniques that underpin artificial intelligence. These skills are being applied to some of the most challenging data science questions in particle physics and astrophysics.

The University of Southampton was ranked in the global top 100 universities for physics and astronomy in the QS Work=ld Rankings by Subject 2018, with 100% of its research being rated world-leading or internationally excellent for its impact on society in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.

*Not all Russell Group universities are returned in the survey every year

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