Patrick graduated from University College London with a BSc in 1976 and a PhD in 1982. He worked at the Anglo-Australian Observatory from 1979 to 1985, before returning to UCL as a research fellow. He relocated to the Royal Observatory Edinburgh in 1986, before moving to work in Oxford on a two-year secondment in 1989 on a proposal for a UK 8-m telescope, The proposal was approved and led to the UK involvement in the Gemini Observatory. He was appointed as a University Lecturer and Tutorial Fellow in Physics at Hertford College in 1995.
Patrick’s astronomical research is focussed on the nature, properties and evolution of interstellar matter and star formation processes. He led pioneering investigations of the mid-infrared emission from a range of astronomical objects, characterising their properties and interpreting the dominant processes. More recently he has characterized the emission of low mass stars and brown dwarfs, identifying clear spectral signatures of youth which are used as age diagnostic s He has been intimately involved with a number of instrument projects, including the UCL liquid-helium-cooled mid-infrared spectrometer, the Michelle spectrometer for UKIRT and Gemini , WHIRCAM for the WHT on La Palma and UFTI on UKIRT in Hawaii.
Currently Patrick chairs the UK Infrared Telescope Board, is a UK delegate to the European Southern Observatory and a member if the Atacama Large Millimetre Array Board. He also chairs the NOVA Instrument Steering Committee of the Netherlands Astronomy Programme.