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New Head of Mathematical and Physical Sciences appointed

Prof Peter Coles

The University has appointed a new Head of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS).

Professor Peter Coles will join MPS in February 2013 from Cardiff University, where he has been Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics since 2007 and is also Deputy Head of School in Physics and Astronomy.

During his previous employment at the University of Nottingham, from 1999-2007, Professor Coles set up a new undergraduate curriculum strand in astronomy and helped to build up a new research group.

He also has experience of working in a mathematics department, from 1990-99 at Queen Mary & Westfield College, University of London, where he taught mathematics and statistics courses as well as astronomy.

Professor Coles is no stranger to Sussex, as he did his graduate studies under the supervision of Professor John Barrow, obtaining his DPhil in 1988 and then staying on for two more years as a post-doctoral research assistant.

He had been an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge, where he did natural sciences, specialising in theoretical physics.

Professor Coles’ primary research interest is in cosmology and the large-scale structure of the Universe. Alongside this he has a long-standing interest in mathematical probability and statistics and their applications in physics and astronomy.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Farthing, chaired the appointment panel. He said: “Peter’s knowledge and skills span both disciplines within the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and he is active in research areas that fit perfectly with the Astronomy group at Sussex.

“This academic background is combined with his wide experience and leadership roles at both Cardiff and Nottingham.

“As a result, I am confident that Peter will play a very positive role in the development of the School and I am delighted to welcome him to Sussex."

Professor Coles said: “I’m thrilled and delighted to have been appointed head of a school with such a strong reputation for both teaching and research, especially at a time when so many exciting developments in mathematical and physical sciences are in the pipeline.

“It will be a wrench to leave Cardiff, but I'm really looking forward to helping the School face the challenges of the future, both by building on its existing strengths and by expanding into new activities.”

Professor Andrew Liddle has been Acting Head of MPS since Professor David Axon died suddenly in April 2012.

Posted on behalf of: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Last updated: Tuesday, 16 October 2012

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