School of Physics and Astronomy

Professor Richard Nelson


Professor of Astronomy and Mathematics

Telephone: 020 7882 3460
Room Number: G. O. Jones Building, Room 219
Website: ../people/richard-p-nelson/richards-home-page.html


I am on sabbatical during the 2016/2017 academic year. Between 2012 and 2016 I taught the first year undergraduate module Our Universe.


Research Interests:

My research is focussed primarily on the theory of planet formation, with particular emphasis on understanding how planets and planetesimals interact with the protoplanetary discs within which they form, and how this interaction affects the formation and global architecture of planetary systems. Broadly speaking my current research may be divided into two different strands. The first consists of detailed studies of the interaction between planets and planetesimals with protoplanetary discs, using state-of-the-art hydrodynamic and magnetohydrodynamic simulations of protoplanetary discs. The second utilises global N-body simulations combined with prescriptions for disc-planet interactions to model the formation of complete planetary systems. The long-term goal of this research is to develop models capable of reproducing in a statistical sense the observations of extrasolar planets.


  • £30,000 per annum 2013-2016 from the University of London Perren Fund(PhD studentship, QMUL-Perren Visiting Professorship)
  • £170,000 from the University of London Perren fund to join the CARMENES consortium and build the QMUL Astronomical Observatory
  • £1,237,644 Consolidated Grant from STFC for Astronomy Reserach 2015-2018 (PI: Nelson): 01.04.2015 to 30.03.2018
  • £1,632,102 Consolidated Grant from STFC for Astronomy Research 2012-2015 (PI: Burgess); 01.04.2012 to 31.03.2015
  • £385,000 Standard Grant from STFC for Planet Formation in Realistic Protostellar Disc Models: 01.10.2008 to 01.01.2012
  • £60,000 Standard Grant from STFC to support the Isaac Newton Research Programme Dynamics of Discs and Planets: 15/08/2009 to 15/12/2009
  • £350,000 Standard Grant from STFC for Planet Formation and Ring-Satellite Interactions (PI:Nelson, co-I C. Murray): 01/04/2006 to 31/03/2009


My publications are listed on ADS and may be seen by clicking here


This is not an exhaustive list and I would be happy to discuss other project possibilities.

Project Title

Planetary formation and migration