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Dr Nathan Mayne

Senior Lecturer in Astrophysics


Telephone: 01392 726244

Extension: (Streatham) 6244

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Hi! I am a Senior Lecturer working at the University of Exeter within the Astrophysics Group. I also oversee the undergraduate admissions and the first year of our course (if you want to apply to study Physics here drop us an email:


My group and I are working to try and understand the bewildering diversity of exoplanets that have been discovered over the recent decades. The discovery of planets outside our own solar system marked a huge step forward towards answering the question of whether we are alone in the galaxy or universe! Our research is aimed at contributing to this huge question, but also to connect what we learn from exoplanets with studies of our own changing climate here on Earth through working with the UK Met Office. Of course, the diversity of exoplanets has also presented a huge number of challenges to our understanding of how planets form and evolve, which we get to explore along the way!

My research goals are summarised in a recent TEDx talk I gave about "Searching for Life in distant planetary systems"

I also wrote an aritcle for "the conversation" titled: "How looking into space can help our understanding of climate change on Earth".

The department also has a Physics@Exeter youtube channel (setup by Natalie Whitehead), through which you can learn more about the departments teaching and research.

Finally, I regularly supervise PhD projects within my field of research, which are generally advertised on our group pages.

About Me:

I grew up in Camborne in Cornwall on a small farm, and much of my youth was spent surfing, playing sport or finding interesting ways to injure myself. At school I always enjoyed complex problems, although I spent most of my early life trying to deny this or cover it up! 

I never owned a telescope and had no idea what a degree or PhD really was, but I did have a lot of books about space and space exploration. Strangely, I never wanted to be an astronaut, or work out how the rockets worked. However, I was always fascinated at how a huge range of environments across our universe could be realised maintaining the same underlying principles-Physics! Of course, I really would not have phrased it like that back then, probably more like: hmm planets and stars are cool. I went to school at Pool School and Community College, and completed my A-levels there too, before taking a year out working in a DIY store and travelling within Europe. 

At University, in Exeter, I really started to realise (towards the end of the course) that I was in fact a whole and actual geek. It took a while to come to terms with, but I gradually realised the potential for Physics, and astrophysics in particular to provide a steady stream of unsolved, hugely complicated problems! I completed an Mphys degree specialising in  Surface Plasmon Polariton working with Prof. B Barnes, then took at year out working for 6 months at the University of Exeter Sports Park then travelling for the remainder of the year to Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. After this I completed a PhD on stellar ages with Prof. T. Naylor, before working with Prof. T. Harries on radiative transfer. Finally, I found a home working on planetary atmospheres with Prof. I Baraffe, before becoming a lecturer and leading my own group in this field.