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Physics and Astronomy

Photo of Prof Nathan  Mayne

Prof Nathan Mayne

Professor in Astrophysics and Planetary Climates

 (Streatham) 6244

 01392 726244

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I am a Professor in the Astrophysics Group of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Exeter, U.K, and a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow.

Current Key Appointments: STFC Astronomy Advisory Panel (2024-2027), Met Office Academic Partnership Research Advisory Panel, Physics & Astronomy Research Strategy Steering Group, ROUTES Steering Group, Research IT Service Owner's Board.

Group: The Exeter Exoplanet Theory Group (EETG) is described here:, and we tweet under the handle @exoclimatology

Research Activity: My full list of publications can be viewed via the NASA ADS, and here is my full academic CV

History: I have changed research field or theme several times in my career. I completed my PhD, in pre-MS ages, and a M.Phys.(Hons) degree, with research into Surface Plasmon Polaritons, at the University of Exeter. I have also worked, as a postdoctoral fellow on monte-carlo radiative transfer, and fitting of brown dwarf observations to simulations.

Research: My main research focus is a collaboration with the Met Office, and the creation of a theoretical framework with which to study the atmospheres of exoplanets (and brown dwarfs). This work involves adapting and applying the Met Office Global Circulation Model (GCM) called the Unified Model (UM) for use studying exoplanets. 

Potential Projects: Our group webpages, EETG, detail all of the current PhD students and postdoctoral research fellows I am working with. However, I am always interested in new project ideas, and working with new people. I can support research projects on a range of exoplanet topics, from comparing state-of-the-art models of gas giant planets with observations, to exploring the climatic states of potentially habitable exoplanets, and the Earth's climate evolution. Please get in touch!

Current Major Grants (PI only):
  • UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship: Exascale Exoplanet Modelling
  • Leverhulme Research Project Grant: Planetary Habitability Paradox
  • DiRAC: Research Software Engineer
  • Royal Society International Exchange Grant

Future: I am driven by the extremely exciting observations made of exoplanet atmospheres, and creating a realistic two-way flow of knowledge and expertise between research into two of the biggest questions there are. Is life on Earth unique, and can we sustain life on this planet? I have developed the foundations for a set of tools, and associated collaborations which will make this a reality. My next venture will be to adapt the next generation exascale climate model, LFRic to the study of of potentially habitable exoplanets and couple it to a model of the convective interiors of gas giant planets, also connecting directly with active research into Earth's changing climate. 

Current Teaching:

  • Supervision: Undergradaute research students

Impact & Outreach: I have delivered many and varied outreach and engagement events from featuring on the BBC's Stargazing Live! programme, to talks at events such as TEDx Truro, to numerous visits to local schools and groups. Working with We The Curious and Engine House VFX, we have also developed innovative VR animations based on our research: Take a VR tour of six real exoplanets!. If you would like to use them, snapshots from this work can also be found here, and here. Finally, we have also created an online Exoplanet project, working with Prof. Dillon, an adapted a recent Nature Communications article, for younger readers, working with Science Journal for Kids.

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Copyright Notice: Any articles made available for download are for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the copyright holder.

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  • Jeffries RD, Oliveira JM, Naylor T, Mayne NJ, Littlefair SP. (2007) The Keele-Exeter young cluster survey - I. Low-mass pre-main-sequence stars in NGC 2169, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, volume 376, pages 580-598. [PDF]
  • Mayne, N.J., Littlefair, S.P., Saunders, E.S.. (2007) Empirical isochrones and relative ages for young stars, and the radiative-convective gap, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.


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