AGM Only - letcure cancelled, (L) Astrobiology - Understanding the origins of life by Professor Nigel Mason

  • Woodrow House, Amersham HP7 0QG England

Cancelled - to further notice

Professor Nigel Mason

Nigel John Mason was born into physics, his father being Sir John Mason FRS, Director General of the Meteorological Office and a noted environmental physicist. Thus he was "indoctrinated" at an early stage into recognizing physics as the premier science.

 After graduating from University College London in 1983 his postgraduate studies involved the study of electron collisions with atoms and molecules in the presence of laser fields. As part of the atomic physics group at UCL he was able to demonstrate, for the first time, a prediction first made in the 1930s that in a three-body collision between an electron, atom and photon the electron may excite the atom by "absorbing" the photon, even if its initial kinetic energy is less than the excitation energy of the atomic state.

 Awarded a SERC Postdoctoral Fellowship in 1988 and a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 1990 he established the Molecular Physics Group in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London in 1990. The group rapidly developed a wide ranging research programme studying atmospheric physics (in particular the mechanisms of ozone depletion and global warming), collision physics and plasma physics. He was a co-founder of the UCL Centre of Cosmic Chemistry and Physics commencing a research programme to study molecular formation in the interstellar medium and planetary atmospheres.

 Appointed Lecturer in 1998 and Reader in 2000 he joined the Open University in September 2002 as Professor of Physics. Co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Astrobiology and The Centre of Atomic and Molecular Engineering his research interests have expanded to include research in nanotechnology, radiation chemistry and the origins of life.

 He has served on many National and International Committees and co-ordinates several major European projects. He is a keen promoter of physics and public understanding of science having held senior positions in both the Institute of Physics and the British Association of Science. In his spare time (!) he writes on military history, in particular the Napoleonic Wars. Married to Jane they share their house in Heath and Reach with two Turkish Van Cats, Pushkin and Vashka.

He will endeavour to take us on a wonderful & enlightening journey to discover &

Understand the Origins of Life....