Astrophysics group members
Our group hosts observers, theorists and instrumentation specialists. Find out about their research interests and activities here.
We are a research group who specialise in astrophysics.
Dr Philippe Blondel
Deputy Director of the Centre for Space, Atmosphere and Ocean Science.
I am developing new approaches to remote sensing, in particular acoustics, radar and satellite imaging. I also work on processing very large data-sets using machine learning and image processing. This ties in with my work studying asteroids and has intersections with the space mining communities, and radar imaging of space debris.
Dr Steven Davies
I am involved in the design and construction of front-end instrumentation for millimetre-wave molecular line astronomy. I am also interested in the use of microfabrication and micromachining methods to make high frequency devices and the circuits in which they are mounted.
Professor Carole Mundell
Head of Astrophysics
I use ground- and space-based facilities looking across the electromagnetic spectrum to catch the fast-fading light from gamma ray bursts - the most powerful explosions in the Universe - to understand cosmic black holes and their environments.
Dr Victoria Scowcroft
I use multi-wavelength observations of variable stars to make high precision distance measurements. My current research focuses on mid-infrared observations of Cepheids and RR Lyrae variables, incorporating data from the Gaia mission, to calibrate their Period-Luminosity relations with the aim of improving the extragalactic distance scale. My research group studies the structure of the Milky Way and the Magellanic System to measure the Hubble constant with mid-infrared standard candles to a precision better than 2%.
Dr Patricia Schady
I study multi-wavelength observations of long gamma ray bursts and use them to study the interstellar medium and star-formation in distant galaxies. I am also interested in other kinds of stellar transient phenomena, such as super luminous supernovae and kilonovae, and on the evolution of galaxies and their chemical enrichment.
Dr David Tsang
I study the relativistic astrophysics of neutron stars and black holes. I am interested in neutron binary systems as sources of possible electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational wave signals, and as a probe of physics within the neutron star crust. I also study the formation and evolution of planetary systems, in particular looking how dynamical processes and interactions could explain emerging features of the exoplanet population.
Dr Hendrik Van Eerten
I carry out computational and theoretical research in high-energy astrophysics. My primary focus is on the relativistic outflows and afterglows from gamma-ray bursts, and blazars.
Dr Carolin Villforth
I study Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) - accreting supermassive black holes at the centres of galaxies. I am interested in understanding the processes that fuel supermassive black holes, the physical properties of AGN as well as the impact AGN have on their host galaxies.
Dr Stijn Wuyts
I study the formation and evolution of galaxies, from the peak of cosmic star formation ten billion years ago to the present day. To this end, I combine tracers of direct star light, dust-radiated emission, ionized and molecular gas. Together, they shed light on the growth of galactic disks, the emergence of bulges, and the connection to the dark matter halos in which galaxies reside.
Dr Stephen Hamer
I work on understanding the internal physics of galaxy clusters. These clusters have huge amounts of hot, rapidly cooling gas which accounts for around 90% of the visible mass in these objects. I study the internal processing of this gas, how it cools, forms stars and fuels active galactic nuclei. The energy released in these processes then interacts with the remaining gas, slowing its cooling and governing the evolution of the cluster and its galaxies.
Dr Tanmoy Laskar
I study energetic transient events such as supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. I use observations across the electromagnetic spectrum and theoretical modelling to investigate the progenitors and host galaxy environment. I carry out research ranging from the fundamental physics of astrophysical shocks to cosmology through the search for transients from the first stars and galaxies.
Dr Jun Toshikawa (JSPS Fellow, University of Tokyo)
I search for protoclusters, which are galaxy overdense regions in the distant universe and expected to grow into galaxy clusters as seen in the local universe. Galaxies located in clusters today show different properties from those in the field. However, the physical origins of the relation between galaxies and environment is still unclear. I study the physical properties of galaxies in protoclusters in order to understand how the early phase of galaxy assembly and evolution proceeded in the highest density environments.
Charlotte Avery (Supervisor: Dr Stijn Wuyts and Prof Carole Mundell)
A 3D View of Gas in Galaxies
I study the structure, kinematics and composition of gas within galaxies over the last 10 billion years, and how the properties of the gas relate to the stellar components of galaxies. The aim is to better understand the physics underlying the observed correlations between different galaxy properties.
Mathilda Avirett-Mackenzie (Supervisor: Dr Carolin Villforth)
The role of mergers and disc instabilities in fuelling AGN
I study the mechanisms that trigger enhanced accretion onto galactic supermassive black holes. I use machine learning to look for galaxy mergers with the goal of understanding their role compared to internal processes in fuelling different types of active galactic nuclei.
Eliot Ayache (Supervisor: Dr Hendrik Van Eerten)
Numerics and Theory of Gamma-Ray Burst afterglows
I study the dynamics of ultra-relativistic fluid outflows created by Gamma-Ray Bursts. I investigate and develop numerical approaches to these hydrodynamical simulations in order to improve accuracy, precision, and efficiency before applying these methods to pending phenomenological questions regarding the associated afterglow.
Abigail Chown (Supervisor: Dr Victoria Scowcroft)
Investigating the Variable Star Populations of the Magellanic Clouds
I am using mid-infrared Cepheid period-luminosity relation to produce precise 3D maps of the Magellanic Clouds. I will use this to determine the chemical and structural properties of the Magellanic Clouds. Then using numerical simulations, I will investigate the evolutionary history of the system.
Bethan Easeman (Supervisor: Dr Patricia Schady)
Investigating the build-up of metals in star forming galaxies
I study the chemical composition of galaxies, in particular investigating how the distribution of heavy elements relates to the galaxy star formation and accretion history. The metallicity of a galaxy can be traced in a variety of ways, and the aim of my work is to understand how different tracers affect our understanding of the cosmic chemical evolution of galaxies.
Bruno Jimenez Fernandez (Supervisor: Dr Hendrik Van Eerten)
Multi-Zone Blazar Modelling
I investigate the emission from Blazars under a multi-zone paradigm. To do this I create simulations of the behaviour of hot plasma and the interaction of particles in a relativistic jet.
Shaula Garibbo (Supervisor: Dr Philippe Blondel)
Low-Frequency Ocean Acoustic Phenomena
I study the variability and mechanisms of acoustic waves through the Earth’s oceans, particularly the low-frequency waves that can propagate at planetary scales across a wide range of environments. I am using Big Data and sophisticated processing approaches, with the aim to develop operational models to monitor large transient events (e.g. explosions, geophysical events) and long-term trends.
Nuria Jordana (Supervisor: Prof Carole Mundell)
Real-time multi-wavelength studies of high-energy extragalactic transients.
I study accreting black hole systems using multi-wavelength observations, with a particular emphasis on the radiation emission mechanisms and magnetic field properties of fast transients, including Gamma-Ray Bursts, Fast Radio Bursts and Active Galactic Nuclei.
Duncan Neill (Supervisor: Dr David Tsang)
Multi-messenger probes of neutron stars
I am working on calculating the frequencies of modes of oscillation in neutron stars. In particular I am interested in the interface modes between the star's solid crust and fluid core. The aim is to study how resonance between these modes and tidal forces can cause the crust of the neutron star to fracture, causing a gamma-ray burst.
Junkai Zhang (Supervisor: Dr Stijn Wuyts)
The relation between galaxy structure, kinematics and environment
Using deep lookback surveys I study galactic structure and how it depends on the environment in which galaxies live. I am inferring intrinsic 3D shapes from the projected axis ratio distributions of ensembles of galaxies, and will tie in dynamical measurements to further understand their structural evolution.