Portrait of Dr James Urquhart

Dr James Urquhart

Lecturer in Physics and Astrophysics
Head of Centre of Astronomy and Planetary Sciences


Dr James Urquhart graduated from the University of Sussex in 2001 with an MPhys in Physics and Astrophysics. His PhD research was completed at the University of Kent under the supervision of Professor Glenn J. White, and he graduated in 2005 with a thesis on 'Radio surveys of triggered star formation within bright-rimmed clouds'. 

James went on to hold postdoctoral positions at the University of Leeds, UK, the Australia Telescope National Facility in Sydney, Australia and the Max-Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany. In 2015, he moved to the University of Kent to take up a lectureship in Physics and Astrophysics.

Research interests

Dr Urquhart's primary research interest is in the area of massive star formation – an area that underpins many fields in astrophysics; it provides an opportunity to link star formation with the large-scale structure of the Milky Way and obtain a better understanding of star formation in the nearby universe. 

Other areas of interest include: 

  • investigating the modes and efficiency of triggered star formation mechanisms
  • the evolution of the earliest stages of the most massive stars and their galactic distribution
  • galactic structure and the influence of the spiral arms in the star formation process
  • using rotational transitions of simple molecules to probe the structure of the interstellar medium
  • star formation in extreme environments (high pressures and densities, strong UV radiation and cosmic ray fields) such as found in the galactic centre and starburst galaxies.


James teaches a range of physics and astrophysics topics including space science and cosmology, thermodynamics and matter, and data analysis techniques.

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