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Fellows Directory

Jonathan Tennyson

Jonathan Tennyson

Professor Jonathan Tennyson FRS


Elected: 2009


Jonathan Tennyson is a physicist whose research covers a range of topics on the theory of small molecules. During the course of his work, Jonathan collides electrons with these small molecules and computes their spectra. He is primarily interested in the astrophysical, atmospheric, plasma-related and other consequences of this process, and his findings are of great importance in astronomy and planetary studies.

Jonathan leads a large and successful research team at UCL who study the way molecules absorb and emit light, with a particular emphasis on astrophysics and the Earth’s atmosphere. He has performed specific calculations for problems relating to atmospheric processes, astrophysics, neutrino mass determination and radiation damage in biological systems, amongst others.

The author of over 600 scientific papers, Jonathan has also written a number of popular science articles. He also wrote the textbook Astronomical Spectroscopy: An Introduction to the Atomic and Molecular Physics of Astronomical Spectra (2005), which enables undergraduate-level readers to understand and interpret astronomical spectra.

Professional positions

Massey Professor of Physics and Head of Department, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London (UCL)
Chief Scientist, Quantemol Ltd, University College London (UCL)

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Chemistry
    • Chemistry, theoretical
  • Earth and environmental sciences
    • Atmospheric physics and meteorology
  • Astronomy and physics
    • Planetary science (Astronomy and Physics), Astrophysics, Computational physics


Exoplanets, Molecular Spectroscopy, Electron collisions

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