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Photo of Prof Tim Harries

Prof Tim Harries

Head of Physics and Astronomy


Telephone: 01392 724158

Extension: (Streatham) 4158

Executive Assistant: Bella Hartley (

My research concerns the formation of stars from molecular clouds to protoplanetary discs. I employ observational techniques such as spectroscopy and polarimetry using large telescopes to probe the density and thermal structure of gas and dust as it collapses to form protostars and discs. I am interested in how material is transported through discs onto protostars, a process that happens on spatial scales that are far too small to be resolved by direct imaging. I, along with my postdocs and students, have developed a sophisticated numerical code that synthetises the interaction between light and matter, and enables a comparison between models of star formation and the various observational diagnostics. Much of my research therefore lies at the interface between numerical models and observations.­

Education and Employment

  • BSc Astronomy (1st class honours) , University of London (UCL), June 1991
  • PhD Astronomy, University of London (UCL), April 1995
  • Postdoctoral researcher, University of St. Andrews, October 1994 to August 1997
  • Postdoctoral researcher, Mullard Space Science Laboratory, September 1997 to August 1998
  • Fixed-term lecturer, University College London, September 1998 to December 2000
  • Lecturer, University of Exeter, January 2001 to June 2006
  • Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter, July 2006 to October 2010
  • Associate Professor, University of Exeter, November 2010 to April 2017
  • Professor of Astronomy, University of Exeter, May 2017 to present

Funded Research Projects

  • EU: FP7 Marie-Curie IEF to support C. Pinte (PI: Harries) Protoplanetary discs: £123503 Fraction of grant: 100% (£123503) Period: 01/04/2008 - 31/3/2010
  • STFC: ST/F003277/1 (PI: Bate, CoI: Aigrain, Brunt, Bunker, Harries, McCaughrean, Naylor, Price) The Formation and Evolution of Stars: £945784 Fraction of grant: 26% (£245904) Period: 1/04/2008 - 31/03/2011
  • STFC: ST/F007124/1 (PI: Naylor, CoI: Aigrain, Bate, Brunt, Harries, McCaughrean) Quota Studentships: £330113 Fraction: 15% (£49517) Period: 01/10/2008 - 30/09/2013
  • STFC: ST/G004293/1 (PI: Harries, CoI: Aigrain, Brunt, McCaughrean, Naylor, Patience, Pont) A PATT-linked grant to support Exeter’s observational astrophysics research: £21889 Fraction: 22% (£4816) Period: 01/04/2009 - 31/03/2011
  • STFC: ST/G001812/1 (PI: Bate, CoI: Aigrain, Brunt, Gilbert, Harries, McCaughrean, Naylor, Pont, Zhang) Short-term Visitors Programme for Astrophysical Research at the University of Exeter: £23506 Fraction: 10% (£2351) Period: 01/04/2009 - 31/03/2012
  • STFC: ST/J001627/1 (PI: Baraffe, CoI: Bate, Berger, Browning, Brunt, Chabrier, Gilbert, Harries, Hatchell, Naylor, Patience, Pont, Sing, Zhang) From Molecular Clouds to Planets: £1734164 Period: 01/04/2012 - 31/03/2015
  • STFC: ST/H008535/1 (PI Bate, CoI: Harries) Supercomputer support for the Astrophysics Group at the University of Exeter: £186000 (1/3 of this money supports Harries’ research) Fraction: 33% (£62000)
  • NASA: NNH08ZDA001N-SSO (PI: Monnier, CoI: Calvet, Harries, Tannirkulam) Probing the Star-Disk Connection: A Multi-Faceted Investigation with Interferometry, Spectroscopy and Modeling

Invited Presentations

Invited presentations since Jan 2008 given by myself and students and postdocs under my supervision:

  • ‘Emission line radiative transfer’, CONSTELLATION School on Numerical Astrophysics and its Role in Star Formation, Cardiff, UK, 2009
  • `Massive star formation', Labyrinth of star formation, Crete, 2011
  • `Radiation hydrodynamical modelling of massive star formation', University of Cardiff Colloquium, 2012
  • `Radiation hydrodynamical modelling of massive star formation', National Astronomy Meeting, St. Andrews, 2013
  • `Time-dependent Monte Carlo Radiative Transfer', STFC Monte Carlo Summer School, St. Andrews, 2013
  • `Radiation hydrodynamical modelling of massive star formation', Radiation Transport Workshop, Grenoble, 2013
  • `Radiation hydrodynamical modelling of massive star formation', Imperial College London Colloquium, 2013

Contributions to the Community

  • Referee for MNRAS, ApJ, A&A
  • PhD external examiner for University of Porto (2010), University of Edinburgh (2012), University of Belfast (2013)
  • STFC Fellowships panel member, 2008-2009
  • ESO Observing Programmes Committee P90 and P91, 2012


  • Talk at Tiverton Astronomical Society, 2008
  • Exeter Astrophysics International Year of Astronomy Open Evening, 2009


I am a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society