Mark Wright

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This is just a brief website - primarily for linking to my PhD thesis, and data related to it.



Dr Mark Wright - That's me above in 1999... You can tell by the obscenely blue sky that I'm not in the UK! Actually I'm at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, having a nice break from my PhD. On the left is the Indian Ocean; on the right is the Atlantic Ocean. [Edit 2005/12: I now have slightly less hair. Doh.]

I completed a Ph.D. in the Astrophysics group at the University of Bristol. My degree was in Chemistry, also at the University of Bristol. If you're wondering how I managed to migrate from chemistry to astrophysics, the final year project of my degree was astrophysical chemistry.

Sadly I left academia and astrophysics, and went into software engineering and politics instead!

Ph.D. Work

My Ph.D. was based on hydroxyl (OH) masers. Maser is an acronym for: Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Many different varieties of masers arise naturally in space, in clouds of warm dust and gas. Hydroxyl molecules also arise naturally in space, typically by uv photodissociation of water molecules. Masers are great probes for several reasons:

  1. At their wavelength, the atmosphere is transparent
  2. At their wavelength, dense clouds of interstellar dust are also transparent
  3. Physical conditions, magnetic conditions, and the motion of the gas they are in can often be calculated from observations
  4. Masers occur in some of the most interesting places in the universe!

I was fortunate to get hold of a superb dataset, from my supervisor Dr Malcolm Gray, of the star-forming region W3(OH). The name means that this is the OH region in the third source in the W catalogue of star-forming regions. My work over several years is contained in my Ph.D. thesis, and in refined form in some published papers. My thesis is available to download right here; it is in Adobe pdf format and is 4.2 MB in size. The thesis is of course my original work and is covered by all the usual copyrights. There is a small errata list.

If you are a researcher and want to look at or use the data from my thesis, or are for some other reason interested in W3(OH) and the maser catalogue, then please click here.

I was very proud in 2002 when my thesis won the Royal Astronomical Society's Michael Penston Astronomy Prize. This prize is awarded annually by the RAS "For the best UK PhD thesis in astronomy and astrophysics". The prize came with enough cash for me to go on holiday to Australia and New Zealand for 2 weeks! :-)

Peer reviewed publications of mine in astronomy journals:

The links above take you to the Blackwell abstract page. You will need to log in to get the full article. You can also get my latest and full publication list at the wonderful ADS site, or at Google Scholar.

After recovering from the shock of using AIPS, I wrote something funny based on the discoveries made in the Bristol Starlink Coffeeroom.You probably wont think it is funny, but then you probably havent used AIPS...

Astrophysics stuff:

Political stuff:

Computer stuff:

Web pages of a few of my friends.

How to Contact Me

Created 30/04/01 - - Last update 17/05/22
Mark Wright