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Peter joins international project to study distant galaxies

Peter Hurley teaches physics summer school

Peter Hurley achieved a first in his MPhys in Astrophysics, despite missing large chunks of university study for hospital treatment .

Peter, who has cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening disease that requires constant medication and special management, plans to continue studying at Sussex for a doctorate and is currently teaching a physics summer school at the Sussex campus for prospective students.

He says: "When I began my degree my health wasn't too bad.  But then I needed intensive treatment at the Royal Brompton hospital in London. In my third year it got really bad. I lost a lot of weight and I was having difficulty with my chest.  But I got through it."

Peter, 22, whose family lives in Saltdean, first developed an interest in physics while still a student at Longhill School in Rottingdean. When he arrived at Sussex his studies took him into astrophysics and he completed his final-year project on galaxy clusters. 

For his doctorate he will be analysing data from the Herschel Space Observatory, which is currently delving deep into space to look at the early formation of galaxies. His supervisor is Dr Seb Oliver, a reader in Astronomy who led a team of scientists to develop one of the instruments on Herschel.  "It's very exciting for me to be involved in such a major study," says Peter.

Attending the graduation ceremony at the Dome on Thursday (23 July) will be his mum and dad, his two brothers and his grandfather.

By: Jacqui Bealing
Last updated: Monday, 20 July 2009