Professional background

I research dynamical modelling of galaxies, primarily of the Milky Way, and data processing from both the Gaia mission and the RAVE survey . I am a member of the Gaia Data processing and analysis consortium, and a 'builder' for the the RAVE survey, as well being involved with the upcoming 4MOST survey.

I am a senior research fellow at Lund Observatory, where I am part of the Gaia group. Previously I was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford working with Prof James Binney in the Galactic Dynamics group. I did my PhD in the Theoretical Astrophysics group at the University of Leicester supervised by Walter Dehnen. This included a Marie Curie student fellowship in Marseille with Lia Athanassoula.

I am co-supervisor of PhD students Daniel Mikkola and Eero Vaher

Research Interests

My dynamical modelling 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, especially Gaia.

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 which we can.

I work primarily on methods which exploit action-angle coordinates. A major focus is "torus mapping" which operates on an orbit-by-orbit basis, and is the basis for sophisticated chemodynamical models. I also work with approximations that allow other forms of calculations, such as determining the Milky Way potential from survey data").

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 widely used graviational potential models, from my highly cited papers "The mass distribution and gravitational potential of the Milky Way (2017) " , and "Mass models of the Milky Way (2011)" which attempt to distill our current understanding of the Galaxy's structure into a single model.

I am abuilder for the RAVE survey, reflecting my work on the survey infrastructure. I am in charge of the pipeline that determines the distance, ages and stellar parameters for stars from RAVE observations, using Bayesian techniques to include information from photometric surveys and Gaia parallaxes.

For the Gaia data processing consortium, I was a lead on author on a science demonstration paper which looked at the dwarf galaxies around the Milky Way in Gaia DR2. I am also involved with the astrometry team, determining the correlations between output parameters from Gaia data analysis. This follows the thesis work on this topic by Berry Holl

Contact and Links

Here you can find links to my CV, to my publications, and to external sites where I have a presence (Github and Twitter).


  • Address:

    Lund Observatory
    Box 43
    Lund SE-221 00
    Sweden

  • Email: paul@astro.lu.se

  • Phone: +46 (0) 46 222 7312

  • Please note that during the covid-19 pandemic I am usually away from my desk, so will not usually receive phone calls to this number.