Personal Biography

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 postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Groningen (1980-1982). Before that I studied Chemistry at Oxford (MA and DPhil) and did A-levels at a state school in Cornwall.

Research and Teaching

I give tutorials on the whole of the Part I Physical Chemistry course to Corpus undergraduates. In the Chemistry Department, I have lectured on a variety of topics including thermodynamics and kinetics, and currently give a 3rd year course on the quantum mechanics of NMR spectroscopy. My research group always includes one or two Chemistry Part II students.

Most of my research these days is an attempt to unravel the biophysical mechanism by which migratory song birds detect the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field as a navigational aid. We believe that the primary sensor is a magnetically sensitive protein called cryptochrome located in the birds’ retinas. Our work is currently funded by research grants from the European Research Council (€8.6M) and the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research ($4.1M).

Short non-technical articles on our work:The Quantum Robin and Quantum needle in a haystack.

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.

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.

Publications, Links and Resources

Chemical compass model of avian magnetoreception.
K. Maeda et al. Nature, 453 (2008) 387-390.

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

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

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

Posner qubits: spin dynamics of entangled Ca9(PO4)6 molecules and their role in neural processing
T. C. Player and P. J. Hore, J. R. Soc. Interface, 15 (2018) 20180494.

A complete list can be found here. I have also written two Oxford Chemistry Primers on NMR.