Pat Irwin

Planetary atmospheric physicist

I grew up in Trowbridge, in rural Wiltshire.  I did my undergraduate degree and then D.Phil. in physics at Oxford University. After a brief spell in industry as a Systems Analyst in London, I came back to do a couple of postdocs in Oxford, before a lecturer in the physics department in 1996.

My research interests lie in observing and modelling the visible and infrared spectra of planetary atmospheres, both in our own solar system and more recently exoplanets. I have a particular interest in observing the visible and near-infrared reflectance spectra of cloudy giant planets and analysing these spectra with our retrieval tool, NEMESIS, to deduce the vertical and horizontal distribution of clouds and gases in these atmospheres.  I, and my research group, am involved both with ground-based observations (with telescopes such as VLT) and also space missions such as Cassini and Mars Trace Gas Orbiter.

I regularly speak to local societies about my work.