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Paul McMillan

Visitor - computing account only

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 was 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)

Please note that I have now moved to Lund Observatory, and can be found online here.

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 methods which exploit action-angle coordinates. A major focus is the "torus machinery" which operates on an orbit-by-orbit basis (e.g. "Analysing surveys of our Galaxy I: basic astrometric data"), but also on approximations that allow other forms of calculations, such as determining the Milky Way potential from survey data ("Analysing surveys of our Galaxy - II. Determining the potential").

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 am currently involved with the RAVE survey, where I am in charge of the pipeline that determines the distances to stars from RAVE observations.

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