Fellowship for rising star exploring distant worlds

A researcher from our University has been awarded a prestigious Winton Exoplanet Fellowship, which will see her conducting exciting new research into exoplanet systems.

Dr Cassandra Hall, the Winton Fellow, is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Theoretical Astrophysics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The Fellowship programme recognises early-career researchers of significant potential and provides them with the opportunity to conduct independent research that will establish them in positions of distinction and leadership in the field. The award, of up to £220,000, provides exceptional recent doctoral scientists with the opportunity to conduct novel theoretical and observational research into planetary astronomy.

An exoplanet, or extrasolar planet, is a planet outside our solar system that orbits a star. As of March 2018 there are around 3,700 confirmed exoplanets.

Using state-of-the-art computational techniques, Dr Hall’s research will focus on improving our fundamental understanding of exoplanet formation, through simulations of these exoplanets in their birth environment- a circumstellar disc around the host star.

The programme supports postdoctoral fellows working on the detection and characterisation of exoplanets, with the aim of advancing our fundamental understanding of their formation, structure, and potential habitability.

Dr Hall said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded a Winton Fellowship. It is an incredible opportunity for me to develop a coherent body of research that will enhance our fundamental understanding of the formation and structure of exoplanetary systems.

“I’m very happy in the Physics department at the University of Leicester. It is a stimulating research environment with varied interests, and world leading scientists are always happy to discuss ideas with me.”

Dr Richard Alexander, Reader in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester, added: “Dr Hall is an outstanding early career scientist, and since she moved to Leicester last year she has been a tremendous asset to our Department. The award of a Winton Fellowship is a great achievement and a fantastic opportunity, and I very much look forward to working with Dr Hall over the next three years."

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