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Our Research

Protoplanetary Discs

Gravitationally Unstable Discs

Self-gravitating discs are young, massive, turbulent, protoplanetary discs that play an important role for planet and brown dwarf formation. Our group models their evolution, the formation of planets, and the interaction between planets and self-gravitating discs.

Warped Discs

Warped protoplanetary disc

Warped protoplanetary discs have been found in observations since 2015, challenging our traditional assumption that discs are flat and co-planar. Our group uses numerical simulations to investigate the origin and evolution of these discs.

Rebecca Nealon

Planet-Disc Interactions

Our group investigates the interactions between planets and discs with the aim to understand how structures in protoplanetary discs are affected by planet-disc interactions, and make observational predictions.

Rebecca Nealon Amena Faruqi

Dust Growth

We model the evolution and growth of dust in protoplanetary discs to determine how the first steps of planet formation occur.

Debris Discs

Kuiper belt analogues

About 80% of other stars are seen to host analogues of the Solar system's Kuiper belt. These discs are made up of bodies of a wide range of sizes, from km-sized "planetesimals" to micron-sized dust grains. Our study of these objects with both observations and theory yields insight into the architecture of other planetary systems, and with context for our own Solar system.

Amena Faruqi


In rare cases we are able to detect the transits of extra-solar comets across the face of other stars. The comet nuclei are much smaller than planets, so what we detect is dust and gas in the diffuse comae and tails that are created by outgassing. Our work on observations of these objects offers a window into the same processes that deliver dust to the habitable zone near Earth in the Solar system.

White Dwarf Discs

Gaseous Discs

Several dozen white dwarfs are known to host planetary debris discs, but only ~5% of these discs host a gaseous component. These rare and exciting systems offer a unique perspective on the formation and evolution of planetary debris discs around white dwarfs. Our group actively observe and monitor these interesting systems, as well as model their evolution using techniques such as Doppler Tomography.

Planetesimal Discs

The dust and gas in white dwarf debris discs originate from and are mixed in with disrupted and disrupting planetesimals. Our group models the destruction and subsequent evolution of these planetesimals with analytical techniques and numerical codes.

Black Hole Discs

Simulation of tearing BH disc

Black holes accrete material from any incoming direction, leading to misaligned discs. When the black hole is rotating, this combination leads to particularly interesting disc structures like breaking and tearing. Our group investigates how these discs work and their implications.

Rebecca Nealon