The paper "Dusty disk winds at the sublimation rim of the highly inclined, low mass YSO SU Aurigae", led by PhD student Aaron Labdon, has been accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics. A pre-print version of the paper can be accessed for free here.
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.
I visited the University of Leicester on the invitation of Dr Richard Alexander and his research group to discuss possible ways to probe star-disk misalignment including its freqency among disk-hosting stars and how different scales of misalignment may occur.
Alongside Dr Jude Meakin, I reported on the status of equality and diversity initiatives within the department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Exeter to a Physics Review Panel. The Panel acts in a similar manner to Ofstead, providing an independent assessment of all activities within physics departments across the country.
For the second year running, I organised for the Institute of Physics South West branch to be present at Exeter Pride. We marched alongside other science and technology groups within Exeter under the banner of "Proud to be a Scientist", handing out diffraction glasses to spectators along the parade. At our stall, we spoke to the public about what physicists do and what physics is, using Marvin and Milo experiments, an infrared camera loaned to us by the Met Office, and some astronomy outreach kit from the University of Exeter.
As part of the commissioning of the MIRC-X instrument at the CHARA Array, we now have the capability to run short observing runs remotely from Exeter, removing the need to travel to LA for single-night or two-night observing runs. On this occassion, the weather was better in Exeter than it was in LA and we were only able to obtain one bracket of data on a young star and its circumstellar disk.
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.