Dr Paul Norman BSc MSc PhD

Dr Paul Norman

School of Physics and Astronomy
Reader in Nuclear Engineering & Reactor Physics
Director of the Birmingham Centre for Nuclear Education and Research

Contact details

School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Paul Norman is a Reader in Nuclear Engineering & Reactor Physics in the Nuclear Physics Group, Head of MSc courses and MSc lab within Physics, and Director of Postgraduate Programmes for Birmingham Centre for Nuclear Education and Research (CNER). He is course supervisor for the MSc in Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors MSc program, which he has run for almost 8 years.

Dr Norman has also done pure nuclear physics research, including significant contributions at both CERN and Brookhaven national lab. On the applied nuclear physics side, Dr Norman has appeared several times on BBC's “The Politics Show” speaking about nuclear power, and has had many radio appearances and publications in physics and engineering magazines, as well as a couple of articles in “The House” magazine (the magazine of the House of Lords and House of Commons).


  • PhD in Particle Physics
  • MSc in Physics & Technology of Nuclear Reactors
  • BSc (Hons) in Theoretical Physics



Paul Norman qualified with a BSc (Hons) in Theoretical Physics in 1995 from the University of Exeter. He went on to study the MSc in Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors at the University of Birmingham (the course that he now runs) and graduated there in 1996. Following this, he stayed on at Birmingham to do a PhD in the nuclear/particle physics area – finishing his PhD in Particle Physics at the end of 1999.

Early in 2000, Paul began his first postdoctoral position with the Nuclear physics group at Birmingham, working on the STAR experiment at Brookhaven national lab in the USA. He was the first person to find the rare Xi and Omega particles at Brookhaven – the latter of which had in fact been thought impossible to find with the first year's experimental set-up. At the end of 2000 he took a 3 year postdoc with the Particle physics group at Birmingham, following up on work from his PhD – where his results had been central to the CERN announcement in February 2000 that the Quark Gluon-Plasma state of matter (sometimes called the “4th state of matter”) had been observed at CERN, in what was probably the biggest CERN announcement for ~20 years.

At the end of 2003, Dr Norman took a lectureship in the Nuclear physics group to run the MSc course in Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors. During this time, he has seen the biggest 5 years of student intake ever (in a course which has run for 55 years), and lectures on such topics as Reactor Physics, Reactor Kinetics, Reactor Systems, Neutron Transport, and Environmental Aspects of Nuclear Power.


  • MSc Multiplying Media
  • MSc Reactor Kinetics
  • MSc Reactor Systems 1
  • MSc Reactor Physics
  • MSc Radiation Transport (NTEC)
  • MSc Reactor Systems 2 (coming year)
  • MSc Nuclear laboratory
  • MSc Tutorials

Postgraduate supervision

  • Supervision of research PhDs in nuclear power
  • Supervision of Masters summer projects in nuclear power



  • Nuclear Power Reactor Technology
  • Nuclear Physics
  • Particle Physics
  • Nuclear Fusion 
  • Nuclear Waste Assay

Other activities

  • External examiner for Surrey University MSc courses (pending)
  • Director of Nuclear Postgraduate Programmes on the Birmingham Centre for Nuclear Education and Research (CNER)
  • Secretary of the MSc industrial steering committee (composed of roughly 20 companies from the UK nuclear industry, contributing roughly 140,000 pounds per year to payment of student fees on the MSc).
  • Birmingham rep on the NTEC steering group
  • Module leader for the N01 NTEC module
  • Birmingham rep on ENEN (European Nuclear Education Network)