Police are investigating the death of an Oxford University professor after a night out with a colleague.

Professor Steven Rawlings, an astrophysicist, was found at the home of Dr Devinder Sivia, 49, a mathematics professor, late on Wednesday night.

Paramedics were called to the bungalow in Southmoor, Oxfordshire, and attempted to revive Rawlings, but he died at the scene. An initial post-mortem examination has proved inconclusive.

Thames Valley Police have confirmed that a 49-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the death and remains in custody. No other suspects are being sought.

"The investigation is still in the early stages. We are endeavouring to establish what happened in the house and are keeping an open mind until all our enquiries are concluded," said Det Supt Rob Mason, of the major crime unit.

"We are liaising closely with Oxford University. It is clear that [Prof Rawlings] was well respected and liked within the college and colleagues and students have been devastated by the news."

Professor Roger Davies, head of Oxford astrophysics, said the department was in "absolute shock" over the death.

"The entire university community has been profoundly saddened and shocked by the tragic and untimely death of Professor Steve Rawlings. Our thoughts are with his family and friends," said Professor Andrew Hamilton, university vice-chancellor.

Rawlings lectured in chemistry and physics and played a significant role in the redevelopment of the Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station in Cornwall. He co-authored a book with Sivia called Foundations of Science Mathematics, published in 1999.