- For lecture notes from my MPhys in Physics and Astrophysics (2002 - 2006), see MPhys lecture notes
I completed a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics at Jodrell Bank Observatory (now part of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics) in 2009. I am currently employed as a postdoc at the same location, working on galactic foregrounds for the Planck satellite.
The research I did during my PhD (and continue to do to a limited extent) spans theoretical astrophysics through to receiver technology, as well as involving some old-fashioned astronomy (i.e. measuring things on the sky).
Theoretical: I have been creating virtual cosmological skies consisting of the Cosmic Microwave Background, galaxy clusters and point sources (active galactic nuclei and dusty galaxies that are too small to cover even a pixel on my maps). These will be used for testing observational strategies using a virtual telescope and receiver, as well as for exploring the various properties of the maps with different input physics. I'm also doing simulations of the atmosphere at microwave frequencies. See "Statistics of the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect power spectrum on arXiv.
Practical: I'm involved with the construction and commissioning of the second-generation One Centimetre Receiver Array (OCRA) receiver. This is an 8 beam receiver (to be upgraded to 16 beams later) that works at a frequency of 30 GHz (1cm wavelength). It was partially constructed prior to the start of my PhD; I've been actively involved with completing the receiver (I've lent a hand with screwing it all together, and the majority of the testing of it), and it's now installed on the Torun telescope and in the process of being commissioned.
Observational: I'm using the first-generation OCRA receiver - the OCRA prototype - to carry out some observations of point sources at microwave frequencies, and have written my own program (pretty much from scratch) to process the observational data. See e.g. "30 GHz observations of sources in the VSA fields".
If you want the full details, see my thesis. ;-)
- 2007-present - demonstrated the 7m telescope at Jodrell Bank for distance learning students
- 2007 - demonstrated PC2161, Programming in C
- 2008 - demonstrated PC2872, Theoretical Physics Computing Project
- 2008-present - demonstrating the optical telescopes for 2nd and 3rd year labs, as well as 4th year MPhys projects
I've been involved in the outreach activities at the Jodrell Bank Visitor Centre, including "Ask an Astronomer" sessions, Star Parties and behind-the-scenes tours of the Observatory. I've also worked on the Jodrell Bank website, helping with the latest redesign. I'm also active on Wikipedia.