P. F. L. Maxted

Keele University, Newcastle-under-Lyme, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (290)941.38 Total impact

  • T. Kupfer, S. Geier, U. Heber, R. H. Østensen, B. N. Barlow, P. F. L. Maxted, C. Heuser, V. Schaffenroth, B. T. Gänsicke
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    ABSTRACT: The project Massive Unseen Companions to Hot Faint Underluminous Stars from SDSS (MUCHFUSS) aims at finding hot subdwarf stars with massive compact companions like massive white dwarfs (M>1.0 M$_\odot$), neutron stars, or stellar-mass black holes. We present orbital and atmospheric parameters and put constraints on the nature of the companions of 12 close hot subdwarf B star (sdB) binaries found in the course of the MUCHFUSS project. The systems show periods between 0.14 and 7.4 days. Three systems most likely have white dwarf companions. SDSS J083006.17+475150.3 is likely to be a rare example of a low-mass helium-core white dwarf. SDSS J095101.28+034757.0 shows an excess in the infrared that probably originates from a third companion in a wide orbit. SDSS J113241.58-063652.8 is the first helium deficient sdO star with a confirmed close companion. This study brings to 142 the number of sdB binaries with orbital periods of less than 30 days and with measured mass functions. We present an analysis of the minimum companion mass distribution and show that it is bimodal. One peak around 0.1 M$_\odot$ corresponds to the low-mass main sequence and substellar companions. The other peak around 0.4 M$_\odot$ corresponds to the white dwarf companions. The derived masses for the white dwarf companions are significantly lower than the average mass for single carbon-oxygen white dwarfs. In a T$_{\rm eff}$-log(g) diagram of sdB+dM companions, we find signs that the sdB components are more massive than the rest of the sample. The full sample was compared to the known population of extremely low-mass white dwarf binaries as well as short-period white dwarfs with main sequence companions. Both samples show a significantly different companion mass distribution. We calculate merger timescales and timescales when the companion will fill its Roche Lobe and the system evolves into a cataclysmic variable.
    01/2015;
  • P. F. L. Maxted, A. M. Serenelli, J. Southworth
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    ABSTRACT: The mean density of a star transited by a planet, brown dwarf or low mass star can be accurately measured from its light curve. This measurement can be combined with other observations to estimate its mass and age by comparison with stellar models. Our aim is to calculate the posterior probability distributions for the mass and age of a star given its density, effective temperature, metallicity and luminosity. We computed a large grid of stellar models that densely sample the appropriate mass and metallicity range. The posterior probability distributions are calculated using a Markov-chain Monte-Carlo method. The method has been validated by comparison to the results of other stellar models and by applying the method to stars in eclipsing binary systems with accurately measured masses and radii. We have explored the sensitivity of our results to the assumed values of the mixing-length parameter, $\alpha_{\rm MLT}$, and initial helium mass fraction, Y. For a star with a mass of 0.9 solar masses and an age of 4 Gyr our method recovers the mass of the star with a precision of 2% and the age to within 25% based on the density, effective temperature and metallicity predicted by a range of different stellar models. The masses of stars in eclipsing binaries are recovered to within the calculated uncertainties (typically 5%) in about 90% of cases. There is a tendency for the masses to be underestimated by about 0.1 solar masses for some stars with rotation periods P$_{\rm rot}< 7$d. Our method makes it straightforward to determine accurately the joint posterior probability distribution for the mass and age of a star eclipsed by a planet or other dark body based on its observed properties and a state-of-the art set of stellar models.
    12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of the transiting hot Jupiter exoplanet WASP-85Ab. Using a combined analysis of spectroscopic and photometric data, we determine that the planet orbits its host star every 2.66 days, and has a mass of 1.09+/-0.03 M_Jup and a radius of 1.44+/-0.02 R_Jup. The host star is of G5 spectral type, with magnitude V=11.2, and lies 125+/-80 pc distant. We find stellar parameters of T_eff=5685+/-65 K, super-solar metallicity ([Fe/H]=0.08+/-0.10), M_star=1.04+/-0.07 M_sun and R_star=0.96+/-0.13 R_sun. The system has a K-dwarf binary companion, WASP-85B, at a separation of approximately 1.5". The close proximity of this companion leads to contamination of our photometry, decreasing the apparent transit depth that we account for during our analysis. Without this correction, we find the depth to be 50 percent smaller, the stellar density to be 32 percent smaller, and the planet radius to be 18 percent smaller than the true value. Many of our radial velocity observations are also contaminated; these are disregarded when analysing the system in favour of the uncontaminated HARPS observations, as they have reduced semi-amplitudes that lead to underestimated planetary masses. We find a long-term trend in the binary position angle, indicating a misalignment between the binary and orbital planes. WASP observations of the system show variability with a period of 14.64 days, indicative of rotational modulation caused by stellar activity. Analysis of the Ca ii H+K lines shows strong emission that implies that both binary components are strongly active. We find that the system is likely to be less than a few Gyr old. WASP-85 lies in the field of view of K2 Campaign 1. Long cadence observations of the planet clearly show the planetary transits, along with the signature of stellar variability. Analysis of the K2 data, both long and short cadence, is ongoing.
    12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: WD0137-349 is a white dwarf-brown dwarf binary system in a 116 minute orbit. We present radial velocity observations and multiwaveband photometry from V, R and I in the optical, to J, H and Ks in the near-IR and [3.6], [4.5], [5.8] and [8.0] microns in the mid-IR. The photometry and lightcurves show variability in all wavebands, with the amplitude peaking at [4.5] microns, where the system is also brightest. Fluxes and brightness temperatures were computed for the heated and unheated atmosphere of the brown dwarf (WD0137-349B) using synthetic spectra of the white dwarf using model atmosphere simulations. We show that the flux from the brown dwarf dayside is brighter than expected in the Ks and [4.5] micron bands when compared to models of irradiated brown dwarfs with full energy circulation and suggest this over-luminosity may be attributed to H2 fluorescence or H3+ being generated in the atmosphere by the UV irradiation.
    12/2014; 447(4).
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    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of three new transiting hot Jupiters by WASP-South together with the TRAPPIST photometer and the Euler/CORALIE spectrograph. WASP-74b orbits a star of V = 9.7, making it one of the brighter systems accessible to Southern telescopes. It is a 0.95 M_Jup planet with a moderately bloated radius of 1.5 R_Jup in a 2-d orbit around a slightly evolved F9 star. WASP-83b is a Saturn-mass planet at 0.3 M_Jup with a radius of 1.0 R_Jup. It is in a 5-d orbit around a fainter (V = 12.9) G8 star. WASP-89b is a 6 M_Jup planet in a 3-d orbit with an eccentricity of e = 0.2. It is thus similar to massive, eccentric planets such as XO-3b and HAT-P-2b, except that those planets orbit F stars whereas WASP-89 is a K star. The V = 13.1 host star is magnetically active, showing a rotation period of 20.2 d, while star spots are visible in the transits. There are indications that the planet's orbit is aligned with the stellar spin. WASP-89 is a good target for an extensive study of transits of star spots.
    10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the discoveries of six transiting hot Jupiters: WASP-87b, WASP-108b, WASP-109b, WASP-110b, WASP-111b and WASP-112b. The planets have masses of 0.51--2.2 $M_{\rm Jup}$ and radii of 1.19--1.44 $R_{\rm Jup}$ and are in orbits of 1.68--3.78 d around stars with masses 0.81--1.50 $M_{\rm \odot}$. WASP-111b is in a prograde, near-aligned ($\lambda = -5 \pm 16^\circ$), near-circular ($e < 0.10$ at 2 $\sigma$) orbit around a mid-F star. As tidal alignment around such a hot star is thought to be inefficient, this suggests that either the planet migrated inwards through the protoplanetary disc or that scattering processes happened to leave it in a near-aligned orbit. WASP-111 appears to have transitioned from an active to a quiescent state between the 2012 and 2013 seasons, which makes the system a candidate for studying the effects of variable activity on a hot-Jupiter atmosphere. We find evidence that the mid-F star WASP-87 is a visual binary with a mid-G star. Two host stars are metal poor: WASP-112 has [Fe/H] = $-0.64 \pm 0.15$ and WASP-87 has [Fe/H] = $-0.41 \pm 0.10$. The low density of WASP-112 (0.81 $M_{\rm \odot}$, $0.80 \pm 0.04$ $\rho_{\rm \odot}$) cannot be matched by standard models for any reasonable value of the age of the star, suggesting it to be affected by the "radius anomaly".
    10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of two hot-Jupiter planets, each orbiting one of the stars of a wide binary system. WASP-94A (2MASS 20550794-3408079) is an F8 type star hosting a transiting planet with a radius of 1.72 +/- 0.06 R_Jup, a mass of 0.445 +/- 0.026 M_Jup, and an orbital period of 3.95 days. The Rossiter-McLaughlin effect is clearly detected, and the measured projected spin-orbit angle indicates that the planet occupies a retrograde orbit. WASP-94B (2MASS 20550915-3408078) is an F9 stellar companion at an angular separation of 15" (projected separation 2700 au), hosting a gas giant with a minimum mass of 0.617 +/- 0.028 M_Jup with a period of 2.008 days, detected by Doppler measurements. The orbital planes of the two planets are inclined relative to each other, indicating that at least one of them is inclined relative to the plane of the stellar binary. These hot Jupiters in a binary system bring new insights into the formation of close-in giant planets and the role of stellar multiplicity.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 09/2014; 572. · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the sky-projected orbital obliquity (spin-orbit angle) of WASP-84b, a 0.70-$M_{\rm Jup}$ planet in a 8.52-day orbit around a G9V/K0V star, to be $\lambda = 0.3 \pm 1.7^\circ$. We obtain a true obliquity of $\psi = 14.8 \pm 8.0^\circ$ from a measurement of the inclination of the stellar spin axis with respect to the sky plane. Due to the young age and the weak tidal forcing of the system, we suggest that the orbit of WASP-84b is unlikely to have both realigned and circularised from the misaligned and/or eccentric orbit likely to have arisen from high-eccentricity migration. Therefore we conclude that the planet probably migrated via interaction with the protoplanetary disc. This would make it the first short-orbit, giant planet to have been shown to have migrated via this pathway. Further, we argue that the distribution of obliquities for planets orbiting cool stars ($T_{\rm eff}$ < 6250 K) suggests that high-eccentricity migration is an important pathway for the formation of short-orbit, giant planets.
    09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery from the WASP survey of two exoplanetary systems, each consisting of a Jupiter-sized planet transiting an 11th magnitude (V) main-sequence star. WASP-104b orbits its star in 1.75 d, whereas WASP-106b has the fourth-longest orbital period of any planet discovered by means of transits observed from the ground, orbiting every 9.29 d. Each planet is more massive than Jupiter (WASP-104b has a mass of $1.27 \pm 0.05~\mathrm{M_{Jup}}$, while WASP-106b has a mass of $1.93 \pm 0.08~\mathrm{M_{Jup}}$). Both planets are just slightly larger than Jupiter, with radii of $1.14 \pm 0.04$ and $1.09 \pm 0.04~\mathrm{R_{Jup}}$ for WASP-104 and WASP-106 respectively. No significant orbital eccentricity is detected in either system, and while this is not surprising in the case of the short-period WASP-104b, it is interesting in the case of WASP-106b, because many otherwise similar planets are known to have eccentric orbits.
    08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The star 1SWASP J162842.31+101416.7 (WASP 1628+10) is one of several EL CVn-type stars recently identified using the WASP database, i.e., an eclipsing binary star in which an A-type dwarf star (WASP 1628+10A) eclipses the remnant of a disrupted red giant star (WASP1628+10B). We have measured the masses, radii and luminosities of the stars in WASP 1628+10 using photometry obtained in three bands (u', g', r') with the Ultracam instrument and medium-resolution spectroscopy. The properties of the remnant are well-matched by models for stars in a rarely-observed state evolving to higher effective temperatures at nearly constant luminosity prior to becoming a very low-mass white dwarf composed almost entirely of helium, i.e., we confirm that WASP 1628+10B is a pre-He-WD. WASP 1628+10A appears to be a normal A2V star with a mass of $1.36 \pm 0.05 M_{\odot}$. By fitting models to the spectrum of this star around the H$\gamma$ line we find that it has an effective temperature T$_{\rm eff,A} = 7500 \pm 200$K and a metallicity [Fe/H]$ = -0.3 \pm 0.3$. The mass of WASP 1628+10B is only $0.135 \pm 0.02M_{\odot}$. The effective temperature of this pre-He-WD is approximately 9200K. The Ultracam photometry of WASP 1628+10 shows variability at several frequencies around 40 cycles per day, which is typical for $\delta$ Sct-type pulsations often observed in early A-type stars like WASP 1628+10A. We also observe frequencies near 114 cycles/day and 129 cycles/day, much higher than the frequencies normally seen in $\delta$ Sct stars. Additional photometry through the primary eclipse will be required to confirm that these higher frequencies are due to pulsations in WASP 1628+10B. If confirmed, this would be only the second known example of a pre-He-WD showing high-frequency pulsations.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of WASP-117b, the first planet with a period beyond 10 days found by the WASP survey. The planet has a mass of M_p = 0.2755 (+/-0.0090) M_jup, a radius of R_p = 1.021 (-0.065 +0.076) R_jup and is in an eccentric (e = 0.302 +/-0.023), 10.02165 +/- 0.00055 d orbit around a main-sequence F9 star. The host star's brightness (V=10.15 mag) makes WASP-117 a good target for follow-up observations, and with a planetary equilibrium temperature of T_eq = 1024 (-26 +30) K and a low planetary density (rho_p = 0.259 (-0.048 +0.054) rho_jup) it is one of the best targets for transmission spectroscopy among planets with periods around 10 days. From a measurement of the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect, we infer a projected angle between the planetary orbit and stellar spin axes of beta = -44 (+/-11) deg, and we further derive an orbital obliquity of psi = 69.5 (+3.6 -3.1) deg. Owing to the large orbital separation, tidal forces causing orbital circularization and realignment of the planetary orbit with the stellar plane are weak, having had little impact on the planetary orbit over the system lifetime. WASP-117b joins a small sample of transiting giant planets with well characterized orbits at periods above ~8 days.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 06/2014; 568. · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Period or amplitude variations in eclipsing binaries may reveal the presence of additional massive bodies in the system, such as circumbinary planets. Here, we have studied twelve previously-known eclipsing post-common-envelope binaries for evidence of such light curve variations, on the basis of multi-year observations in the SuperWASP archive. The results for HW Vir provided strong evidence for period changes consistent with those measured by previous studies, and help support a two-planet model for the system. ASAS J102322-3737.0 exhibited plausible evidence for a period increase not previously suggested; while NY Vir, QS Vir and NSVS 14256825 afforded less significant support for period change, providing some confirmation to earlier claims. In other cases, period change was not convincingly observed; for AA Dor and NSVS 07826147, previous findings of constant period were confirmed. This study allows us to present hundreds of new primary eclipse timings for these systems, and further demonstrates the value of wide-field high-cadence surveys like SuperWASP for the investigation of variable stars.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 05/2014; 566. · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The MUCHFUSS project aims at finding sdBs with massive compact companions. Here we report on the current status of our spectroscopic and photometric follow-up campaigns and present some highlight results. We derive orbital solutions of seven new sdB binaries and estimate the fraction of close substellar companions to sdBs. Finally, we present an ultracompact sdB+WD binary as possible progenitor of a thermonuclear supernova and connect it to the only known hypervelocity subdwarf star, which might be the donor remnant of such an event.
    03/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present Rossiter-McLaughlin observations of WASP-13b and WASP-32b and determine the sky-projected angle between the normal of the planetary orbit and the stellar rotation axis ($\lambda$). WASP-13b and WASP-32b both have prograde orbits and are consistent with alignment with measured sky-projected angles of $\lambda={8^{\circ}}^{+13}_{-12}$ and $\lambda={-2^{\circ}}^{+17}_{-19}$, respectively. Both WASP-13 and WASP-32 have $T_{\mathrm{eff}}<6250$K and therefore these systems support the general trend that aligned planetary systems are preferentially found orbiting cool host stars. A Lomb-Scargle periodogram analysis was carried out on archival SuperWASP data for both systems. A statistically significant stellar rotation period detection (above 99.9\% confidence) was identified for the WASP-32 system with $P_{\mathrm{rot}}=11.6 \pm 1.0 $ days. This rotation period is in agreement with the predicted stellar rotation period calculated from the stellar radius, $R_{\star}$, and $v \sin i$ if a stellar inclination of $i_{\star}=90^{\circ}$ is assumed. With the determined rotation period, the true 3D angle between the stellar rotation axis and the planetary orbit, $\psi$, was found to be $\psi=11^{\circ} \pm 14$. We conclude with a discussion on the alignment of systems around cool host stars with $T_{\mathrm{eff}}<6150$K by calculating the tidal dissipation timescale. We find that systems with short tidal dissipation timescales are preferentially aligned and systems with long tidal dissipation timescales have a broad range of obliquities.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 03/2014; 440(4). · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The results of a search for eclipsing Am star binaries using photometry from the SuperWASP survey are presented. The light curves of 1742 Am stars fainter than V = 8.0 were analysed for the presences of eclipses. A total of 70 stars were found to exhibit eclipses, with 66 having sufficient observations to enable orbital periods to be determined and 28 of which are newly identified eclipsing systems. Also presented are spectroscopic orbits for 5 of the systems. The number of systems and the period distribution is found to be consistent with that identified in previous radial velocity surveys of `classical' Am stars.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 02/2014; 564. · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of the planets WASP-20b and WASP-28b along with measurements of their sky-projected orbital obliquities. WASP-20b is an inflated, Saturn-mass planet (0.31 $M_{\rm Jup}$; 1.46 $R_{\rm Jup}$) in a 4.9-day, near-aligned ($\lambda = 8.1 \pm 3.6^\circ$) orbit around CD-24 102 ($V$=10.7; F9). WASP-28b is an inflated, Jupiter-mass planet (0.91 $M_{\rm Jup}$; 1.21 $R_{\rm Jup}$) in a 3.4-day, near-aligned ($\lambda = 8 \pm 18^\circ$) orbit around a $V$=12, F8 star. As intermediate-mass planets in short orbits around aged, cool stars ($7^{+2}_{-1}$ Gyr for WASP-20 and $5^{+3}_{-2}$ Gyr for WASP-28; both with $T_{\rm eff}$ < 6250 K), their orbital alignment is consistent with the hypothesis that close-in giant planets are scattered into eccentric orbits with random alignments, which are then circularised and aligned with their stars' spins via tidal dissipation.
    02/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The EChO core science will be based on a three tier survey, each with increasing sensitivity, in order to study the population of exo-planets from super-Earths to Jupiter-like planets, in the very hot to temperate zones (temperatures of 300 K - 3000 K) of F to M-type host stars. To achieve a meaningful outcome an accurate selection of the target sample is needed. In this paper we analyse the targets, suitable for EChO observations, expected to result from a sample of present and forthcoming detection surveys. Exoplanets currently known are already sufficient to provide a large and diverse sample. However we expect the results from these surveys to increase the sample of smaller planets that will allow us to optimize the EChO sample selection.
    Experimental Astronomy 01/2014; · 2.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of a survey using the WASP archive to search for high frequency pulsations in F-, A- and B-type stars. Over 1.5 million targets have been searched for pulsations with amplitudes greater than 0.5 millimagnitude. We identify over 350 stars which pulsate with periods less than 30 min. Spectroscopic follow-up of selected targets has enabled us to confirm 10 new rapidly oscillating Ap stars, 13 pulsating Am stars and the fastest known $\delta$ Scuti star. We also observe stars which show pulsations in both the high-frequency domain and in the low-frequency $\delta$ Scuti range. This work shows the power of the WASP photometric survey to find variable stars with amplitudes well below the nominal photometric precision per observation.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 01/2014; 439(2). · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of WASP-103b, a new ultra-short-period planet (P=22.2 hr) transiting a 12.1 V-magnitude F8-type main-sequence star (1.22+-0.04 Msun, 1.44-0.03+0.05 Rsun, Teff = 6110+-160 K). WASP-103b is significantly more massive (1.49+-0.09 Mjup) and larger (1.53-0.07+0.05 Rjup) than Jupiter. Its large size and extreme irradiation (around 9 10^9 erg/s/cm^2) make it an exquisite target for a thorough atmospheric characterization with existing facilities. Furthermore, its orbital distance is less than 20% larger than its Roche radius, meaning that it might be significantly distorted by tides and might experience mass loss through Roche-lobe overflow. It thus represents a new key object for understanding the last stage of the tidal evolution of hot Jupiters.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 01/2014; 562. · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have observed the post common envelope binary WD0137-349 in the near infrared $J$, $H$ and $K$ bands and have determined that the photometry varies on the system period (116 min). The amplitude of the variability increases with increasing wavelength, indicating that the brown dwarf in the system is likely being irradiated by its 16500 K white dwarf companion. The effect of the (primarily) UV irradiation on the brown dwarf atmosphere is unknown, but it is possible that stratospheric hazes are formed. It is also possible that the brown dwarf (an L-T transition object) itself is variable due to patchy cloud cover. Both these scenarios are discussed, and suggestions for further study are made.
    Memorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana. 01/2014;

Publication Stats

3k Citations
941.38 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2001–2014
    • Keele University
      • Department of Physics and Astrophysics
      Newcastle-under-Lyme, England, United Kingdom
  • 2011
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1994–2011
    • University of St Andrews
      • School of Physics and Astronomy
      Saint Andrews, SCT, United Kingdom
  • 2007
    • Radboud University Nijmegen
      • Department of Astrophysics
      Nijmegen, Provincie Gelderland, Netherlands
  • 1997–2003
    • University of Southampton
      • • Physics and Astronomy
      • • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Southampton, ENG, United Kingdom