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25 July 2016

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Prof. Phil Charles awarded Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship

Professor Phil Charles, who is an Emeritus Fellow of St Hugh’s, has been awarded a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship.

Professor Charles has received a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship in the 2016 round. The Fellowship is designated to support the ongoing research work of senior researchers who are going to be retiring, or have already retired from an Academic position, to continue their work and prepare their research for publication.

Professor Charles has proposed to continue his work on the title of“Fundamental Properties of Galactic X-ray Binaries”. For some 40 years he has studied interacting binaries where compact objects (white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes) accrete matter from their normal stellar companion, releasing copious X-rays.

These objects permit the study of extreme physical processes near the compact stars. Critical to this work is knowledge of their fundamental properties, especially periods and masses, and I have been involved in the discovery of (a) the first well-determined black hole in our Galaxy, (b) superorbital periodicities in high-mass X-ray binaries, and (c) the long-term optical/X-ray behaviour of white dwarf systems accreting at extremely high rates.

The Leverhulme Trust award funding and Fellowships across the academic disciplines. The Trust was established through the Will of the Victorian businessman and philanthropist, William Hesketh Lever, who became Lord Leverhulme in 1922.

The Trust was established in 1925 through shares left by Lord Leverhulme in his company Lever Brothers for the provision of scholarships to support research and education. Lever Brothers later merged to form Unilever, one of the world’s largest multinational companies, with the Trust’s shares transferring accordingly. They award approximately £80 million each year of research funding in the UK with an aim of supporting original research that advances knowledge of the world and those who occupy it.

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