Before a working group on Diversity in Tech is to be set up by Tech Exeter and Digital Exeter, a small group of interested persons met up to discuss the current state of efforts to improve diversity and inclusion within Exeter's tech sector and how best to move forward. The results from the discussion are in the process of being collated.
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.
The second PRISM Speakers event of 2019 took place in the City Gate Hotel, Exeter. As founder and chair of PRISM, I orchestrated the evening. The attendance was lower than in January with fewer allies turning out on this occassion.
I organised an informal meeting of the PhD students and post-docs who use the TORUS radiative transfer code, originally written by Tim Harries, to model or simulate observations of the disks that exist around young stars as they form. TORUS is a multi-purpose code capable of solving for radiative and/or statistical equilbrium and it was interesting and useful to see how its different capabilities are being used.
I submitted three principal investigator proposals and contributed as co-investigator to a number of others, primarily to observe young stars in the process of forming. These all request time on the Very Large Telescope Interferometer and whether they are successful will be revealed around June time.
In my role on the Physics Inclusivity Working Group, I helped staff the Physics Pulse Check. This is a day devoted to "taking the pulse" of the staff and students in the Physics and Astronomy department at the University of Exeter in order to assess the department's community well-being. Feedback was sought on different themes from teaching and admin load to diversity and inclusion.