joined the University of Leicester and the Department of Physics and Astronomy in 1979, following his undergraduate degree in physics at the University of York, to study for a PhD in X-ray Astronomy. Following his PhD he was detector scientist for the ROSAT Wide Field Camera and then won a Research Council Advanced Fellowship to exploit the data from that mission. He was appointed to a Lectureship in 1994, became Reader in 1998 and then Professor of Astrophysics and Space Science in 2003. He was head of the Physics and Astronomy department from 2005 to 2009 and Pro-Vice Chancellor and founding Head of the College of Science and Engineering from 2009 to 2016, before taking on the role of Pro-Vice Chancellor for strategic science projects and Director of the Leicester Institute of Space & Earth Observation, charged with developing Space Park Leicester. He has played a leading role in raising approximately £27M in external capital funding for the project, which opened in summer 2021. His current role is Director of Strategic Partnerships for Space Park Leicester.
Martin's research interests are the study of hot white dwarf stars and the surrounding interstellar medium. He has been involved in many space missions during his career, including NASA's Voyager probes, during their interplanetary cruises, the ESA EXOSAT mission, IUE, EUVE, Hubble and FUSE. He has had a 30+ year involvement with Hubble, initially as part of the team acquiring the first observations of white dwarfs with the telescope following up with many observing programmes in the intervening years. He was a member of the Space Telescope Users' Council during planning for the final Hubble servicing mission, which took place in May 2009. He leads the Leicester contribution to the ESA Gaia mission and has been a team member for the Large UVOIR telescope study, which will form the basis of the next NASA Flagship astronomy mission. During his scientific career, Martin has accumulated more than 500 publications, of which 236 are in refereed journals. with almost 22,000 citations. He has held more than £10M in research grants as PI and a further £14M as CoI.
In recent years, Martin has been fortunate to have had opportunities to play important roles in UK scientific funding and advisory structures, as a member of the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (2009-2015) and the Physics REF panel (2014 & 2021). He has also been a member of the ESA Astronomy Working Group (2012-2014) and Space Programme Advisory Committee of the United Kingdom Space Agency (2012-2015, Chair 2019-). In 2005, he was elected to the Council of the Royal Astronomical Society, becoming Astronomy Secretary in 2008 and President for two years from May 2014 to May 2016. Martin was closely involved in the development of the National Space Centre in Leicester and continues to support its educational programme. He has been chair of the Space Telescope Science Institute Council since 2016 and is a member of the board of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA).