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Dr Tim Mercer

Senior Lecturer in Physics
School of Natural Sciences

Tim teaches within the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute for Mathematics, Physics & Astronomy, predominantly in the area of experimental/applied physics. He leads the Magnetic Materials Research Group at UCLan and sits on the UK and ROI Institute of Physics Magnetism Group Committee. His interest and publications are focused on the study and characterisation of interactions within, and between, magnetic materials and their structures, including development of experimental techniques. In addition to the supervision of students at PhD, Masters and BSc (Hons) levels, his experience includes being an External Examiner for UK Physics degree programmes.

Tim has either taught or contributed-to physics modules over undergraduate years 1 to 4 and also has experience teaching 1st year mathematics to engineering and building services students. He is the Module Leader for the 1st year physics laboratories that includes the development of both programming and group-work knowledge and skills in addition to a suite of physics experiments. He leads and co-ordinates the annual Physics Challenge undertaken by teams of 1st year students in competition with one another and, whenever possible, with other Universities. He supervises PhD and Postgraduate Masters research projects in physics, authoring peer-reviewed articles in magnetic materials based research and collaborates on / co-supervises with chemistry-based projects that involve the study of magnetic nanoparticles.

On leaving secondary school education, Tim joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) as an Apprentice Technician. Completion of his apprenticeship included study for a B/Tec Higher National Diploma (HND) in Aerospace Studies (Avionics) and qualified him as an Electronics Engineering Technician Air Communications / Air Radar. He continued in the Aerospace sector for the early part of his career, becoming an Engineer and Technician Trainer in avionic systems at British Aerospace, with part of his time spent working overseas in the Middle East. He then undertook a major career change by returning to full-time study for the first time since leaving school, completing his first degree in Applied Physics & Astronomy as a mature student. Following his final year project that involved developing control programmes and measuring properties of magnetic recording media, he caught the 'magnetic material' bug and went on to study for a PhD. Postgraduate and postdoctoral work at UCLan, Southampton and Liverpool followed, with his first paper published from work at Southampton on materials that exhibit a then newly discovered property known as Colossal Magnetoresistance (CMR). After a short period back in industry, as a Software Engineer building LabVIEW test tools for an aerospace defence contractor, Tim returned to the University sector in a number of teaching and academic-related roles before he secured his current position as a physics lecturer in the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute for Mathematics, Physics & Astronomy. In his time since becoming a physics lecturer he has been Course Leader for all the on-campus undergraduate Physics and Astrophysics degree programmes and successfully steered these programmes through Professional Body Accreditation by the Institute of Physics (IOP). He has also been an External Examiner for the physics degree programmes at the University of Portsmouth and an Honorary Visiting Senior Fellow at the University of Liverpool. He currently sits as an Officer (Treasurer) on the IOP Magnetism Group Committee.

  • PhD Magnetic Materials/Applied Physics, University of Central Lancashire, 2001
  • BSc (Hons) Applied Physics & Astronomy, University of Central Lancashire, 1995
  • B/Tec HND, Aerospace Studies (Avionics), Royal Air force, 1983
  • Long service award for time as a member on the local branch (Lancs & Cumbria) committee of the IOP
  • Magnetic Materials
  • Magnetic measurement techniques
  • Multi-ferroic Materials
  • Skyrmions
  • Magnetic Nanoparticles and their potential biomedical applications
  • Magnetic Fluids
  • Member of the Institute of Physics (MInstP)
  • UK and ROI IOP Magnetism Group Committee (Treasurer
  • Previously the External Examiner for the Physics Degree Programmes at the University of Portsmouth and Honorary Visiting Senior Fellow in the Physics Department, University of Liverpool