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Paul McMillan

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

I did my PhD in the Theoretical Astrophysics group at the University of Leicester supervised by Walter Dehnen. I also spent time working with Lia Athanassoula in Marseille on a Marie Curie fellowship.

After finishing my thesis in 2006 I came to Oxford, where I am a PDRA in the sub-department of Theoretical Physics, working with Prof James Binney

All my papers are conveniently available here (and only partially listed to the right on this page)

My research is dominated by the study of the Milky Way, and how best to interpret and exploit the enormously rich but confusing data we are gaining from numerous large surveys, with intention of being prepared for Gaia data.

In particular I'm focused on producing dynamical models which can be compared to observations of the Milky Way, as it's only through understanding the Galaxy's dynamics that we will be able to discover anything about its dark matter content, or infer anything about the regions of the Galaxy that we can't survey from those we can.

I work primarily on so-called "torus" models - my paper with James Binney "Analysing surveys of our Galaxy I: basic astrometric data" describes a planned program of work which takes these models and applies them to numerous problems in astrophysics.

Additionally I have dedicated significant work to interpreting simpler datasets in an effort to establish our current level of knowledge about the Milky Way. This includes my paper "The uncertainty in Galactic parameters" which analysed observations of maser sources, and "Mass models of the Milky Way" which attempts to distill our current understanding of the Galaxy's structure into a single model.

I'm a non-stipendary lecturer at Merton College, where I teach 3rd year general relativity, and fluid dynamics.