The Taiwan Time Allocation Committee have accepted a proposal (on which I am a co-investigator) to study FU Ori and EX Ori-type variable young stars with the SPiRou instrument at the Canada France Hawai'i Telescope (CFHT). With the proposed observations, we aim to study the magnetic fields in these objects and their relation to the variable mass accretion rates exhibited by these stars.
I am currently a European Research Council funded Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, UK, in the research group of Prof. Stefan Kraus.
My present research is focussed on the analysis of near-infrared interferometric observations of protoplanetary disks using worldwide astronomical facilities such as the Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA) and the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). To analyse these observations, I use and develop the Monte Carlo radiative transfer code, TORUS, originally developed by Prof. Tim Harries. I also use and develop the Exeter geometrical modelling pipeline, RAPIDO (Radiative transfer and Analytic modelling Pipeline for Interferometric Disk Observations), to model continuum and line emission from disks. These analyses probe the innermost regions of proto-planetary disks, allowing us to study their geometry, composition and shape. From this, we can learn more about planet formation and disk accretion processes. Further details regarding my scientific research can be found here and further information regarding my observing experience is provided here.
Prior to arriving in Exeter in October 2015, I worked at the University of St Andrews, UK, as an STFC STEP Fellow following the completion of my PhD at the same institution in April 2015. My PhD thesis, entitled "Revolution evolution: tracing angular momentum during star and planetary system formation" focussed on observationally probing the efficiency of stellar spin down during gravitational collapse together with quantifying the circumstellar angular momentum retained within planetary systems at various stages of formation. A copy of my thesis can be downloaded following links provided in my publications section.
Aside from my scientific research, I am also involved in various public outreach activites. Details of these can be found in the outreach section. I am a member of the Institute of Physics, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and a Junior Member of the International Astronomical Union. I am an ordinary member of the IOP South West branch committee with the aim of delivering more diverse physics-related events to communities in the South West of England. I also sit on the University of Exeter's Physics and Astronomy Inclusivity Working Group which is working towards creating a more inclusive work environment celebrating the diversity of all staff and students. I am also the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Science's coordinator for the University of Exeter's LGBTQ+ staff network.
Rather than produce a conference proceedings, the organisers of the recent ESO workshop entitled "Take A Closer Look" have placed PDF copies of talks and poster presentations. My talk, entitled "Grain Growth-Induced Curvature of the Inner Rim of Protoplanetary Disks" is now available to view here. This features work presented in my recently accepted paper entitled "Simultaneous Spectral Energy Distribution and Near-infrared Interferometry Modeling of HD 142666".
For the second time this year, I led a group of colleagues from the Univ. Exeter's Astrophysics Group to the St Loyes area of Exeter for a Star Spangled Kyrangle stargazing event. The event was organised in collaboration with St Loyes-based community-based art project, Working With Gold, led by Clare Bryden. Even though we were plagued by cloud, around thirty locals joined us in the park and enjoyed looking through a telescope at Mars; learning about the starlore associated with the Summer Triangle constellations, Casseopeia, and Pegasus; and engaging with knowledgeable astronomers at our activities table.
Probing the Inner Disk Emission of HD 163296 and HD 190073, a study led by PhD student and collaborator, Benjamin Setterholm, of the University of Michigan, has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.
I returned to Mount Wilson to undertake 8 night of observations at The CHARA Array. On this occassion, I used the MIRC-X six-telescope beam combiner instrument to observe young stellar objects as part of a large survey of these objects. With these observations, we will be able to image the innermost regions of the disks that exist around stars as they form and search for time-variable asymmetric structures which could be associated with ongoing planet formation in these disks.