Ben Johnstone-Bray is the lead academic for the postgraduate diploma in Astronomy.
Since joining the Centre for Lifelong Learning in 2016, Ben has delivered and continued the development of the postgraduate diploma in Astronomy. Additionally, he is the editor of Science @ York, a newsletter aimed at Year 6 children in local primary schools and their parents. The newsletter showcases current and exciting research being undertaken in the sciences at the University of York. The aim of the project is to inform and enthuse both children and parents in modern science, and to promote engagement with the University within the local community.
Ben studied for his undergraduate degree in astrophysics at Queen Mary University of London. During this time, he carried out investigations using a synthetic colour-magnitude diagram fitting algorithm to resolve the star formation history of stellar populations from the fossil records of galaxies. He studied for a master’s degree in fusion energy at the University of York, where he maintained his interest in astrophysics through the study of astrophysical plasmas and nuclear fusion, the method of power generation in stars. Here, he carried out computational research into laser-plasma interaction.
Ben is the lead teaching fellow on the Postgraduate Diploma in Astronomy (http://www.york.ac.uk/lifelonglearning/astronomy/). This programme will offer home astronomers, who may have graduated in subjects other than physics, the opportunity to gain a formal postgraduate qualification in Astronomy and Astrophysics, and is designed to give students a robust and up-to-date background in these areas. Over the course of two years, we will explore the solar system, stellar physics, infra-red, radio and high energy astronomy, as well as discussing the foundations of cosmology.