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Durham University

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Dr Peter Swift, MSc PhD MInstP FHEA

Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43518
Room number: 120
Assistant Professor in the Centre for Materials Physics
Vice-Master of Grey College
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 45564
Telephone: College: 45630 / Department: 43518

(email at


Peter graduated with first class honours in Maths and Physics from Durham University. He then undertook a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Martyn Chamberlain and sponsored by HMGCC in the terahertz group at Durham, which he completed in 2008. Since then he has worked for a University spin-out, Durham Photonics Ltd, where he developed terahertz instrumentation, and as a Post-Doc on the ROBUST project (Regeneration Of Brownfield Using Sustainable Technology), investigating the applicability of terahertz radiation as a sensor for organic molecules.

Since October 2011, Peter has taught in the Department of Physics, currently as an Assistant Professor (Teaching), which he has held jointly with the positon of Vice-Master of Grey College since January 2014.

College Responsibilities

At Grey College, I have overall responsibility for the wider Student Experience and postgraduate provision. I also work with our alumni.

Department Responsibilities

Teaching Activity

I currently lecture the Level 2 course, Thermodyanmics and Statistical Physics, which forms part of the module Foundations of Physics 2B. This involves determining the course material from the syllabus, giving lectures and producing associated materials, providing weekly problems with solutions, and setting and marking examinations.

I am (for 2020-21) the overall leader of the Discovery Skills in Physics module, and also lead the Epiphany Term practical sesisons, on which I also demonstrate.

I act as the Outreach co-ordinator in the department, which means I sit on both the department's Education Committee, and also the Science Faculty Outreach Management Group. In this role I also take overall responsibility for coordinating the department's particpation and provision for both the Supported Progression and Sutton Trust Summer Schools as part of the Univeristy's Widening Participation initiatives. In addiiton, I am the department coordindator of the Levelling-up, Aspire Higher project.

Research Interests

My main interests now lie in the field of how students learn physics (pedagogy), and we can improve our teaching methods for this.

From the work on my PhD, I am still interested in the application of terahertz radiation to a variety of situations.

Research Groups

Centre for Materials Physics

List of publications