Corpus Christi College Oxford

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Peter Hore

Fellow and Tutor, University Lecturer in Chemistry, Professor of Chemistry


I came to Corpus in 1983 as only the second Chemistry tutor in the College’s history, having been a Junior Research Fellow at another Oxford college (1982-83) and a Royal Society European Programme Fellow at the University of Groningen (1980-1982). I studied Chemistry at Oxford (MA and DPhil) and did A-levels at a comprehensive school in Cornwall.


I am the senior Chemistry tutor at Corpus and give tutorials across the whole of the Part I Physical Chemistry course. In the Chemistry Department, I have lectured on a range of subjects including thermodynamics, kinetics, quantum mechanics and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and currently run courses on vectors, classical mechanics and NMR pulse sequences. My research group always includes one or two Chemistry Part II students.


A biophysical chemist with a background in magnetic resonance, my research is experimental and theoretical/computational in roughly equal amounts. Much of what I have done may be classified as ‘Spin Chemistry’ – roughly speaking, the effects of electron and nuclear spins and, more generally, weak magnetic interactions on the rates and yields of chemical reactions. Over the years, my research group has been interested in, amongst other things, photosynthetic energy conversion, protein structure and folding, chemically induced spin hyperpolarization, short-lived reaction intermediates, spin dynamics simulations, NMR techniques, and the effects of weak magnetic fields on (bio)chemical reactions.

Helped immeasurably by talented graduate students and postdocs and excellent collaborators, I have spent much of the last ten years trying to unravel the biophysical mechanism by which migratory birds detect the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field for the purposes of orientation and navigation. Evidence is accumulating in support of the notion that the primary sensor is a magnetically sensitive radical pair in a cryptochrome photoreceptor protein in the birds’ retinas.

Short non-technical articles on this work can be found here and here.

Present and recent sources of funding include the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), the European Research Council (ERC), the EMF Biological Research Trust, and the Royal Society.

A representation of the flavin and tryptophan radicals in the cryptochrome protein thought to be the primary sensor for the magnetic compass of migratory birds









Recent articles

A light-dependent magnetoreception mechanism insensitive to light intensity and polarization. S. Worster et al.  J. Roy. Soc. Interface14 (2017) 20170405.

Disruption of magnetic compass orientation in migratory birds by radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. H. G. Hiscock, et al.  Biophys. J.113 (2017) 1475–1484.

The quantum needle of the avian magnetic compass. H. G. Hiscock, et al.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 113 (2016) 4634-4639.

Chemical amplification of magnetic field effects relevant to avian magnetoreception.  D. R. Kattnig, et al.  Nature Chem., 8 (2016) 384-391.

The radical-pair mechanism of magnetoreception.  P. J. Hore & H. Mouritsen. Annu. Rev. Biophys.,45 (2016) 299-344.

Anthropogenic electromagnetic noise disrupts magnetic compass orientation in a migratory bird. S. Engels, et al.  Nature. 509 (2014) 353-356.

A more complete list can be found here.

Undergraduate and graduate textbooks

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, P. J. Hore, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 2015.

NMR:  the Toolkit, P. J. Hore, J. A. Jones and S. Wimperis, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 2015.




 Updated 23/1/18

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