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Staff at the UCL Observatory


Dr Giorgio Savini Director.
Research interests and teaching links are given at

Mrs Kay Nakum Administrator to the Astrophysics group and Observatory.
Kay's responsibilities include organizing bookings for public tours of the Observatory and Dr Diego's schools visits.


Stephen Boyle Teaching Fellow.
Responsible for third-year courses in observational astronomy at UCLO since 1988, Stephen is the organiser and leader of the annual Astronomy Field Trip to the Observatoire de Haute-Provence (OHP). He administers the third-year Night Duty Officer (NDO) scheme and supervises most student observing carried out under the scheme. His research interests lie in variable stars and in stellar spectroscopy. He is undertaking the further development of teaching materials used at UCLO.

Dr Francisco Diego Visiting Research Fellow.
Former Vice-president of the UK Association for Astronomy Education and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, Francisco is a keen populariser of astronomy and has extensive experience as a planetarium producer/presenter, lecturer, author and broadcaster. He has held a Science in Society fellowship from the Science and Technology Facilities Council to produce The Mind of the Universe, a series of public and school lectures on astrophysics, cosmology and life in the universe, as part of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. Francisco runs UCLO's programme of schools visits, and the successfull Your Universe programme at UCL.

Dr Mike Dworetsky Former Director (1997–2008).
Originally appointed Lecturer in Astronomy at UCL in 1974, Mike was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1987. After 'retirement', he continues to provide teaching support to classes in practical astronomy at UCLO (notably as Tutor for the part-time evening course leading to the Certificate of Higher Education in Astronomy) and to UCLO's outreach programmes; he was elected President of the Association for Astronomy Education in 2009.
His research interests are in the spectra and composition of stars, particularly chemically peculiar stars of the upper main-sequence, binary stars, stellar photometry and the fundamental properties of stars, especially in the class known as HgMn (or mercury-manganese) stars, which have a high abundance of heavy elements. Home page:

Dr Steve Fossey Senior Teaching Fellow.
Responsible for first-year practical classes at UCLO since 1992, Steve is interested in developing teaching materials which introduce students to modern data and techniques of data analysis. His research interests lie in investigating the nature of dust and gas in the interstellar medium, an exoplanets. He is an Editor of The Observatory magazine, an independent journal of astronomy. In 2014 January, Steve discovered SN2014J.

Support staff

Mrs Maureen Evans, Mrs Diane Mongan: Facilities tsarinas.
Maureen and Diane keep UCLO spick and span, and are our Senior Consultants on Hospitality and Baking.

Mick Pearson Mechanical engineer.
Mick provides technical support for the instruments and systems at UCLO. Having previously worked on motor-cycle mechanics and installing satellite TV systems (among other things), he fears neither speed nor heights.

Thomas Schlichter Computing & instrumentation officer.
Theo joined the team at UCLO in 2003. Having gained experience in aircraft maintenance as a jet fighter technician in a previous life he then studied electrical engineering at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. Before and after his degree as Dipl.-Ing. (MEng) he worked at Middlesex University Microelectronics Centre designing integrated circuits and administrating the UNIX systems and design software. He now looks after the IT infrastructure at UCLO and is involved in instrumentation and GUI design.


Dr Athem Alsabti Visiting Research Fellow.
BSc, MSc and PhD in Astrophysics from Manchester University. Formerly Professor of Physics at Baghdad University; founder of Baghdad Planetarium and Iraqi National Observatory Project. At present, Dr Alsabti is a Research Fellow at UCL, a member of the Advanced Development Projects Group of the International Astronomical Union, a member of the World Space Observatory Committee, and a consultant to the Cornwall Observatory and Planetarium Project. His research interests are in the origin and evolution of supernovae, and interstellar matter. Other interests include popularisation of astronomy through media work, TV, radio, etc.

Dr Sarah Hutton Outreach Co-ordinator and Ogden Science Officer
Sarah has an Astrophysics PhD from Durham, and is supporting and developing our outreach programme, with particular reference to schools activities.

Dr Peter Thomas:
As Observatory Manager, 1987–2013, Peter was responsible for the restoration and updating of the instrumentation at UCLO; the specification and development of the new buildings under the major expansion in 2000; and initiating the concept of robotic observing from ULO, including the vision for a new, large, modern telescope facility to enhance access to research-grade equipment for undergraduate advanced projects. He was awarded his PhD for the refurbishment of the Radcliffe telescope, including design of its digital control system, completed in 1994. Peter continues to act as a consultant to the Observatory, and is actively involved in our efforts to fund a new large modern telescope.