Space science has been carried out at the University of Leicester for more than fifty years. The Space Research Group was founded in January 1960 with the appointment of Ken Pounds as Assistant Lecturer. There had been a Physics Department at Leicester University since 1924, in fact before it gained University status in 1957.
Radio & Space Plasma Physics Group
This work involves studying the ionosphere and magnetosphere of the Earth, and other planets, and interactions with the solar wind.
Theoretical Astrophysics Group
The work done by this group concerns the physical processes involved in the evolution of the universe.
The areas the Space Research Centre are involved with include instrumentation for high energy astrophysics, studying the solar system and Earth Observation.
X-ray and Observational Astronomy Group
In the past the group has used data from the X-ray observatories Ariel-V, Exosat, Ginga and Rosat. Currently they are using Chandra, XMM-Newton and Swift. The Swift mission is being used to study Gamma-Ray Bursts.
Earth Observation Science Group
This group is based at the Space Research Centre. They study both the atmosphere and surface of the Earth.
As well as standard text books on astronomy, the University of Leicester Library has rare books, such as a 1704 edition of Newton's Optics. The library also houses the books belonging to the the Mathematical Society. Some of these date back many years. For example there are books from the eighteenth and nineteenth century on fluxions (calculus).
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Leicester Library
Last updated 8th November, 2012.