School of Physical Sciences and Computing
Computing and Technology Building, CM229
+44 (0) 1772 89 3742
As an active researcher, Stewart leads a number of observational astronomy projects and has collaborators world-wide. These focus on the gas and dust ejected by evolved stars as they undergo a variety of stellar explosions. He is currently Associate Dean of School and Reader in astronomy, responsible for operational management of the School. He also teaches on the astronomy distance learning programme and supervises student projects.
From his days as a research student, Stewart has been interested in the physics of circumstellar matter, in bringing his science to members of the public of all ages and in helping students to understand astronomy and the related subjects of physics and maths.
Having attended state primary and secondary schools in the High Peak borough of Derbyshire, Stewart went on to study at the then University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. There he graduated with First Class Honours in Mathematical Physics, and went on to postgraduate study at Jodrell Bank Observatory. This led to him graduating with an MSc in Radio Astronomy and in 1996 gaining a PhD based on research into the ejecta of classical novae, both awarded by the University of Manchester.
From there Stewart became a researcher, working for Professor Nye Evans at Keele University, continuing his radio astronomy projects but also making use of ESA's Infrared Space Observatory. At the same time he developed his interest in public engagement, which began at Jodrell Bank and continued in supporting events for the public at Keele. After successfully completing the three year project with Nye, he moved to the Astrophysics Research Institute of Liverpool John Moores, where he worked for Professor Mike Bode on a Hubble Space Telescope project, and took part in a number of public engagement activities, as well as teaching students practical astronomy.
In 2001 Stewart came to UCLan as a lecturer to develop new modules within the Astronomy Distance Learning programme. Within two years he was also teaching on the on-campus programme, and working with Dr Robert Walsh and others on public engagement. In 2004 this involved them in leading major public engagement events associated with the Transit of Venus, including observing from the location in Much Hoole where the first such observation was completed by Jeremiah Horrocks in 1639.
Since then Stewart has filled various roles, including Acting Head of the Centre for Astrophysics, Course Leader for Astronomy Distance Learning, Acting Associate Head of Physics, Associate Head of School, and during the summer of 2010 Acting Head of School prior to the appointment of Rob Wallace. In October 2010 he was also awarded the title of Reader in Astronomy in recognition of his contribution to research in that subject. Currently he shares responsibility for operational management of the School with Barbara McManus, taking responsibility for student recruitment, retention, teaching and learning.
QualificationsPhD Radio Astronomy, University of Manchester, 1996 MSc Radio Astronomy, University of Manchester, 1993 BSc(Hons) Mathematical Physics, University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology, 1992
Main research projects include:
In 2011 and 2012 Stewart will be pursuing early science projects with the Atacama Large Millimetre Array to examine these objects in a unique window never before available. This will be a starting point for a phenomenal range of developments made possible once ALMA is fully functional and we are able to examine these stars in greater detail than ever before at mm wavelengths.
Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
Member of the Institute of Physics
Member of the International Astronomical Union
Currently Stewart teaches the AA1059 Introduction to Astrobiology (a distance learning module) and is helping to supervise an MPhys project student. Previously he developed and taught AA1059 Introduction to Astrobiology, AA1055 IT for Astronomy and AA1058 Sun, Earth & Climate, and taught AA1057 Investigations in Astronomy. He has also contributed to the development of a number of other modules at higher levels, as well as teaching Year 2 and 3 Astrophysics laboratories and supervising a number of final year projects.
Stewart has long had an interest in outreach (or public engagement) activities, most recently appointing staff specifically to support these activities, funding our presence at big events like Big Bang 2010, and occasionally still running sessions for the public himself.
Over the last two years, this work has included refurbishment of the University's Alston Observatory, including a brand-new planetarium projection system; supporting the BBC's Stargazing Live with visits to the observatory; various events at or for schools and colleges, including one at West Lakes Academy (which is sponsored by UCLan) to coincide with the APN V research conference in Cumbria.