Dr Phil Evans

Lecturer in Astrophysics

A photo of Phil, above Loch Katrine

School/Department: Physics & Astronomy, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 5059



I am X-ray astronomer and I lead the University's involvement in the highly successful Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory. Swift is a highly versatile satellite, originally designed to study Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs: the most powerful explosions in the universe) but now used to observe all kinds of transient and variable astronomical phenomena. I am particularly interested in time-domain and multi-messenger astronomy (TDAMM); a rapidly-growing field which studies transient events and especially looks to combine "traditional" astronomical data (i.e. light) with other "messengers" that we are now able to detect, such as neutrinos and gravitational waves.

I have been part of the Swift team since 2006, and the lead of that team since 2021. I work mainly on the UK Swift Science Data Centre here at the University of Leicester. I developed the automated GRB analysis tools, the tools to analyse Swift-XRT data on demand and the production of several Swift-XRT catalogues, including the Living Swift XRT Point Source catalogue and real-time transient detector, which can identify new transients in Swift data within minutes of receiving those data.

As well as Swift I am involved in various other missions and mission concepts in various capacities, in particular the ESA large-class "Athena" mission which will launch in the late 2030s. The University of Leicester is responsible for the Science Ground Segment for one of the instruments on this mission.

Since April 2023, I have been a lecturer in the School of Physics and astronomy.


My primary area of research "TDAMM" - Time-Domain and Multi-Messenger astrophysics - a field of which I was one of the early members. This involves the study of variable and transient events, such as gamma-ray bursts (powerful explosions heralding the birth of new black holes), and stars being torn apart by each other or black holes. I both lead and contribute to a range of range of work in this area, primarily at present via the Neil Gehrels Swift Obsevatory. I am particularly active in the Swift follow-up of neutrino and gravitational wave detections, the SCUBED weekly survey of the Small Megelanic Cloud, and ongoing GRB follow up.

I have produced a number of catalogues of X-ray sources discovered with Swift, most recenly the Living Swift-XRT Point Source Catalogue. This unique catalogue is updated in close to real time, whenever new data are ready to enter the Swift archive; it also includes a real-time transient detector, capable of finding interesting new transient events within hours of their occurrence.


My full publications list can be seen at:, or you can find it on ADS. My ORCiD is 0000-0002-8465-3353.

A selection of research highlights are:

  • Swift Follow-up Observations of Gravitational-wave and High-energy Neutrino Coincident Signals — Keivani A., et al., 2021, ApJ, 909, 126
  • 2SXPS: An Improved and Expanded Swift X-Ray Telescope Point-source Catalog — Evans P.A., et al. et al., 2020, ApJS, 247, 54
  • Multimessenger observations of a flaring blazar coincident with high-energy neutrino IceCube-170922A — Ice Cube Collaboration, et al., 2018, Science, 361, 1378
  • A Multimessenger Picture of the Flaring Blazar TXS 0506+056: implications for High-Energy Neutrino Emission and Cosmic Ray Acceleration — Keivani A., et al., 2018, ApJ, 864, 84
  • Swift and NuSTAR observations of GW170817: detection of a blue kilonova — Evans P.A., et al., 2017, Science, 358, 1565
  • Swift follow-up of gravitational wave triggers: results from the first aLIGO run and optimisation for the future — Evans P.A., et al., 2016, MNRAS, 462, 1591
  • Swift follow-up of the Gravitational Wave source GW150914 — Evans P.A., et al., 2016, MNRAS, 460, L40
  • Swift follow-up of IceCube triggers, and implications for the Advanced-LIGO era —Evans P.A., et al., 2015, MNRAS, 448, 2210 
  • Swift follow-up observations of candidate gravitational-wave transient events —Evans P.A., et al., 2012, ApJ, 203, 28
  • Methods and results of an automatic analysis of a complete sample of Swift-XRT observations of GRBs —Evans P.A., et al., 2009, MNRAS, 397, 1177


I teach the Numerical Programming in C 3rd year option module, and the C programming taster lab for second years. I offer student projects for 4th years.

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