Research Training Network - FP6

Collective expertize of the network teams

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Participant Number 20: UMIST (GB)

Expertise in Research and Complementarity
The UMIST team is led by Prof T J Millar (TJM), who has 30 years of experience in studying the chemistry of the molecular universe. He has published close to 200 papers in this field, and co-edited five conference proceedings. TJM was awarded a PhD by UMIST and, following Postdoctoral Fellow (PDF) appointments in Toronto and Oxford, he returned there as an SERC Advanced Fellow in 1981. He was appointed to the academic staff in 1983 and became Professor of Astrophysics in 1995. His major research interest is the development of detailed chemical kinetic models to describe molecular evolution in a variety of astronomical regions including interstellar clouds, hot molecular cores, protostellar disks, circumstellar envelopes, proto-planetary nebulae and planetary nebulae, and he has published many of the primary papers in these areas. The UMIST Astrophysics Group contains an additional three academic staff, three PDFs and 10 PhD students all of whom work on projects connected with the molecular universe. TJM has been instrumental for over a decade in bringing together theoretical and experimental chemists with modellars and observational astronomers to define the key chemical data and advance our understanding of the physical and chemical evolution of the interstellar and circumstellar gas. Since 1990, the UMIST team has taken responsibility for providing the fundamental set of reaction rate data, and related software, to the community. PPARC have supported this activity through the continuous provision of a PhD student since 1992. The majority of modelling groups, including several in this consortium, use the UMIST codes as standard. Molecular astrophysics at UMIST is supported by a Rolling Grant from PPARC, which originated in 1988 and supports a thriving research programme and includes funds for visitors and observations. The team is also well- supported by UMIST including the award in 2002 of £300K to develop a Centre for Interferometry and a PDF to investigate the efficient use of databases for the ALMA project.
Expertise in Training and Knowledge Transfer
The PhD student would be employed within the Astrophysics Group in the Department of Physics at UMIST. The university has a very well-developed training programme for PhD students, which incorporates project planning, time management presentation skills, scientific writing, etc. The university has a Graduate Office which oversees issues of quality and supervision and the Physics Dept has a Postgraduate Committee to ensure best practice is embedded in all activities. The UMIST team generates significant research overheads which are used to support its infrastructure including computing, software, conference attendance and scientific visits. The team has an active visitors programme and organises international conferences at UMIST on a regular basis, most recently January 2003. We encourage interaction between students and visitors. Our graduates have a high success rate in staying in astronomy. Six of our last seven graduates are still in the field, one of these won the RAS Penston Prize for the best UK PhD Thesis in Astronomy in 2000 and three have won prestigious NRC fellowships taken at NASA Ames (2) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Over the past four years, PhD degrees have been awarded to six (5M, 1F) of TJM's students, with three (3M) currently in progress. In this period he has also supervised four PDFs (1M, 3F) with one (1F) on-going. Finally, the UMIST group is very active in engaging with the public. Members speak to many astronomical societies, contribute to UMIST schools visiting programme, and hold public lectures for school children on campus. We encourage our PhD students to work closely with particular schools and to run projects in primary and secondary schools. This has resulted in media coverage and to grants to the schools to support this work.

Involvement of Key Scientific Staff.

Name Position M/F Expertise
T J Millar Head of Astrophysics M Astrochemistry
H Nomura PPARC PDF F Modelling
J Woodall PhD student M Data collection
P Woods PhD student M Carbon chemistry
S Farrow Senior Computer Officer M Databases

Significant References
1. The UMIST Database for Astrochemistry 1999 Y H Le Teuff, T J Millar and A J Markwick, Astron. Astrophys. Suppl., Ser., 146, 157-168 (2000)
2. Large Molecules in the Envelope Surrounding IRC+10216 T J Millar, E Herbst and RPA Bettens, Mon. Not. R. ast. Soc. 316, 195-203 (2000)