Dr Chris Nixon

Associate Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics

School/Department: School of Physics & Astronomy

Telephone: +44 (0)116 223 1219



I completed a Master's degree at the University of Cambridge (2009) and a PhD at the University of Leicester (2012). I then spent three years at the University of Colorado Boulder as a NASA Einstein Fellow. In 2015 I returned to Leicester with an STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowship. In 2017 I was appointed to a Lectureship and became an Associate Professor in 2019.


I am a theoretical and computational astrophysicist with broad interests from planet formation to accretion on to supermassive black holes in active galactic nuclei. I am interested in astrophysical fluid dynamics and its application to topical problems. By combining analytical and numerical approaches it is possible to make progress in understanding what we see in the Universe. I enjoy developing new models for astrophysical systems and using these to explain observations. My research has been funded by STFC, NASA, EU Horizon 2020, and The Leverhulme Trust.


I am interested in supervising Master's and PhD students in theoretical astrophysics. Recent topics covered by PhD students I have supervised include accretion disc physics, tidal disruption events, star and planet formation, and evolution of stellar and supermassive black hole binaries. I am also interested in supervising summer undergraduate research students.


I have been module leader for PA4608: Supermassive Black holes and Large Scale Structure and PA3247: Numerical Programming in C. I have also contributed to PA1710 Mathematical Physics 1.1, PA2900 Experimental Physics 2, PA3280 Physics Challenge and undergraduate research projects (PA3900, PA4440, PA4900). I serve as academic tutor for some of our undergraduates (PA1010). I hold an Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

Press and media

I am happy to be contacted about any topic in which I have published research.

Media coverage

My research has featured in several media outlets including New Scientist, Spektrum der Wissenschaft, Nature Astronomy, and AAS Nova.
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