Prof. Andy Lawrence

Research Theme:
Email address:
Telephone number:
+44 (0)131 668 8346
Institute for Astronomy, Royal Observatory, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, EH9 3HJ, United Kingdom

Research interests

My main specialisation is the study of active galactic nuclei and quasars, and especially the clues from their variability and their spectral energy distributions. I have also worked on other extragalactic topics such as starburst galaxies and the measurement of large scale structure. I have often used very large scale surveys, and most recently was the PI of UKIDSS, and have been using PanSTARRS to look for extreme transients. My interest in large scale surveys also led me to work on the concept of the Virtual Observatory.


I have taught at all levels from large first year general courses (eg Discovering Astronomy, Physics 1A) through Junior Honours (eg Astrophysics 3, Fourier Analysis and Statistics)  to BSc Honour Courses (eg Astronomical Statistics and Measurement). I have published a textbook on Astronomical Measurement and have others in preparation. I am keen on innovative teaching techniques, and co-led an Astronomy Technology based MOOC with Coursera.

Research outputs

  1. Quasar viscosity crisis DOI
    Andy Lawrence, Nature Astronomy, 2, p. 102-103 (2018)
  2. The USNO-UKIRT K-band Hemisphere Survey
    Scott Dahm, Justice Bruursema, Jeffrey A. Munn, Fred J. Vrba, Bryan Dorland, Simon Dye, Tom Kerr, Watson Varricatt, Mike Irwin, Andy Lawrence et al. (2018)
  3. A population of highly energetic transient events in the centres of active galaxies DOI
    E. Kankare, R. Kotak, S. Mattila, P. Lundqvist, M. J. Ward, M. Fraser, Andy Lawrence, S. J. Smartt, W. P. S. Meikle, Alastair Bruce et al., Nature Astronomy, 1, 12 , p. 865-871 (2017)
  4. The broad-band SEDs of four 'hypervariable' AGN DOI
    James S. Collinson, Martin J. Ward, Andy Lawrence, Alastair Bruce, Chelsea L. MacLeod, Martin Elvis, Suvi Gezari, Philip J. Marshall and Chris Done, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 474, 3 , p. 3565-3575 (2017)
  5. A kilonova as the electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational-wave source DOI
    S. J. Smartt, T. -W. Chen, A. Jerkstrand, M. W. Coughlin, E. Kankare, S. A. Sim, M. Fraser, C. Inserra, K. Maguire, K. C. Chambers et al., Nature, 551, 7678 , p. 75-79 (2017)
  6. Multi-messenger Observations of a Binary Neutron Star Merger DOI
    B. P. Abbott, Jeffrey R Abbott, T. D. Abbott, F. Acernese, K. Ackley, C. Adams, Alex T Adams, P. Addesso, R. X. Adhikari, V. B. Adya et al., Astrophysical Journal Letters, 848, 2 (2017)
  7. The UKIRT Hemisphere Survey: definition and J-band data release DOI
    S. Dye, A. Lawrence, M. A. Read, T. Kerr, W. Varricatt, K. E. Furnell, A. C. Edge, M. Irwin, N. Hambly, P. Lucas et al., Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 473, 4 , p. 5113-5125 (2017)
  8. Spectral analysis of four 'hypervariable' AGN: a microneedle in the haystack? DOI
    Alastair Bruce, Andy Lawrence, C. MacLeod, Martin Elvis, M. J. Ward, J. S. Collinson, Suvi Gezari, J. P. Marshall, Marco Lam, R. Kotak et al., Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 467, 2 , p. 1259-1280 (2017)
  9. First Discoveries of z > 6 Quasars with the DECam Legacy Survey and UKIRT Hemisphere Survey DOI
    Feige Wang, Xiaohui Fan, Jinyi Yang, Xue-Bing Wu, Qian Yang, Fuyan Bian, Ian D. McGreer, Jiang-Tao Li, Zefeng Li, Jiani Ding et al., Astrophysical Journal, 839, 1 (2017)
  10. Discovery of 16 New z ˜ 5.5 Quasars: Filling in the Redshift Gap of Quasar Color Selection DOI
    Jinyi Yang, Xiaohui Fan, Xue-Bing Wu, Feige Wang, Fuyan Bian, Qian Yang, Ian D. McGreer, Weimin Yi, Linhua Jiang, Richard Green et al., Astronomical Journal, 153, 4 , p. 184 (2017)
Last updated: 19 Feb 2018 at 21:11