Speaking at the

Biography

I am an astrophysicist, radio astronomer, and algorithm developer, and am currently a Research Associate at the University of Oxford’s e-Research Centre (OeRC). Prior to this, I was an Excellence Fellow at the Institute for Mathematics, Astrophysics, and Particle Physics (IMAPP) at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. I received my PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2012, where I was based at Trinity Hall and the Cavendish Laboratory. I have since held positions as an Associate Lecturer at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SifA), University of Sydney, Australia, and as a scientific visitor at institutes in Italy and Germany.

Most of my work to-date has been directly focussed on the run-up to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) – a telescope that will essentially cover half the Earth with components located in both the Western Australian desert and in South Africa. The “Big Data” generated by the SKA will be enough to fill 15 million, 64 GB, iPods every day. That is 10 times the current global internet traffic. Our newly developed skills in handling such data will affect everyone from medical researchers, neuroscientists, data scientists, quantitative financial analysts, and the general public throughout the global community.

I have been helping to commission and scientifically exploit the pathfinders and precursors for the SKA, and have been using a number of world-class facilities and international observatories including the VLA in the USA, LOFAR in the Netherlands, ATCA in Australia, and the GMRT in India. I am also interested in large-scale survey projects, and am active within both the GALFACTS Consortium undertaking a 1.4 GHz full-polarisation survey with the Arecibo telescope, and the POlarisation Sky Survey of the Universe’s Magnetism (POSSUM) survey being undertaken with the new Phased Array Feeds on the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP).

In particular, I have been applying cutting-edge statistical and data analysis techniques to these large datasets. This has included implementing space-partitioning data structures, model selection, and hypothesis testing tools. I have particular expertise with Python and its scientific libraries such as numpy, scipy. In general, I love solving problems!

When not doing research, I am also a passionate communicator. I enjoy explaining complex topics to non-specialist audiences. Until 2015, I was leading the “CAASTRO in the Classroom” outreach programme within the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics. I have also spent time as the Astronomer in Residence at Ayers Rock/Uluru, Australia to engage with the general public.

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Academic Positions

  • Present2017

    Research Associate

    Oxford e-Research Centre (OeRC), Oxford, UK

  • 20172015

    Excellence Fellow

    Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands

  • 20152015

    Scientific Visitor

    Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR), Bonn, Germany

  • 20152015

    Visiting Scientist

    Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory, National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), Florence, Italy

  • 20152012

    Associate Lecturer

    Sydney Institute for Astronomy & ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), University of Sydney, Australia

Education

  • Ph.D. 2012

    Ph.D. in Astrophysics

    University of Cambridge - Cavendish Laboratory

  • BSc 2008

    Bachelor of Science in Theoretical Physics

    Royal Holloway - University of London

Honours, Awards, and Grants

  • 2016
    Leids Kerkhoven-Bosscha Fonds
  • 2015
    Radboud Excellence Fellowship
  • 2015
    Origins Postdoctoral Prize Lectureship (finalist)
  • 2008-2012
    Science and Technology Facilities Council Award for PhD Study
  • 2005
    Worshipful Company of Coopers Science Foundation Prize