School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics

Staff Profile

Dr Christopher Harrison

NU Academic Track Fellow (NUAcT)


I am an observational astronomer with the main goal of understanding how galaxies formed, and a particular interest in the role of growing supermassive black holes (i.e., Active Galactic Nuclei; AGN) and galaxy dynamics. Towards this I use a suite of observational facilities across the world (and in space!) covering the electromagnetic spectrum, to study both nearby and distant galaxies. A summary of my research activities can be found on my personal website.

I currently hold a NUAcT Fellowship in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics. Previously I help positions at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and Durham University.

I have a strong interest in public engagement and accessibility to science. This includes the creation of educational exhibitions, activities and workshops, and leading international engagement projects. More information about my engagement and EDI/accessibility activities can be found on my personal website.


My primary research area is galaxy evolution with a particular interest in:
  • Impact of supermassive black hole growth on star formation
  • Galactic outflows driven by active galactic nuclei and star formation
  • The build up of galactic disks across cosmic time
  • The origin of radio emission from the most rapidly growing black holes (quasars)
  • Star formation in the distant Universe.

I use a variety of observatories to conduct my research including the VLT (optical/infrared), ALMA (mm-sub-mm), Chandra (X-rays), VLA (radio), eMERLIN (radio). I also utilise cosmological hydrodynamical simulations in combination with my observations to understand the physical processes governing galaxy evolution. 

More recently I have started to investigate how data can be represented using sound and tactile models (in addition to traditional visual representations). This is primarily with an interest in increasing accessibility to science. 

A summary of my research activities can be found on my personal website


I currently am interested in recruiting Masters and PhD students do perform research projects with me. Interested students should get in touch.

A list of my current and previous students can be found on my personal website.