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Associate Professor (Research) - UKRI FLF in the Department of Physicsocw014 
Member of the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation  
Associate Fellow in the Institute of Advanced Study  



I am currently an Associate Professor (Research) and UKRI Future Leaders Fellow in the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation, University of Durham, UK. Previous to this I worked as a postdoctoral fellow for two years at the Universidad Catolica, Chile. My research is concerned with forecasting, modelling, measuring and mitigating the Earth's atmospheric turbulence for applications such as astronomy and free-space optical communications. This has led to several novel instrumentation packages deployed at some of the world’s premier observatories and to many strong international collaborations.

Research Interests

Atmospheric Physics

The Earth’s turbulent atmosphere has two detrimental effects on light propagation, i) the image appears to wobble and blurs, losing spatial information, and ii) the brightness varies, seen as twinkling and called scintillation, limiting the temporal photometric precision. My research is concerned with forecasting, modelling, measuring and mitigating this atmospheric turbulence.

Free-space Optical Communications

The large bandwidth available from using visible light, as opposed to conventional radio communication, will enable 10-100 times higher data rates, helping us to meet demands for higher capacity data transmissions that societies around the world have become accustomed to, as well as to increase the volume of data retrieved from space science satellites used for Earth observation, inter-planetary and deep space missions.

Astronomical Instrumentation

The full potential of ground based optical telescopes can only be realised with the careful application of sophisticated instrumentation. I am particularly interested in Adaptive Optics technologies for wide-field and high-contrast imaging and high-precision time-resolved photometry.

Research groups

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Physics: Atmospheric turbulence, free-space optical communications and astronomical instrumentation, including Adaptive Optics
  • Weather & climate:
  • Advanced Instrumentation:
  • Astronomy, The Universe ...:
  • Engineering: Communications:


Doctoral Thesis

  • Osborn, James (2010). Profiling the turbulent atmosphere and novel correction techniques for imaging and photometry in astronomy. Durham University. PhD: 158.

Journal Article

Supervision students