I grew up in the little fishing town of Kilkeel in County Down, at the foot of the Mourne Mountains. I did my undergraduate degree and then a Ph.D. in astrophysics at Cambridge, and after postdocs at the Royal Greenwich Observatory and the Cavendish Laboratory I came to Oxford as a lecturer in the physics department in 2003.
My research interests lie in high-energy astrophysics, particularly in the relativistic jets and very-high-energy particles created in extreme environments such as accreting black holes and supernova blast waves. I study these at all wavelengths from radio through to the highest-energy gamma rays. My research group works on both theory and experiment, with particular emphasis at present on the development of the next generation ground-based observatory for gamma-ray astronomy, the Cherenkov Telescope Array.
I regularly take part in outreach events organised by the Oxford Astrophysics department, and I also participate in a project supported by the overseas-development Newton Fund to teach advanced astrophysics courses in sub-Saharan African countries.