“…star stuff.” —Carl Sagan
A little about me
I am currently a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Gravitational Wave Astronomy. My research is focussed on the lives and sometimes very violent deaths of stars—especially stars that interact with some companion star in the course of their lifetime. These “binaries” are not as uncommon as one may think; around half of the stars that you see in the night sky are actually pairs of stars. (Imagine a solar system with two suns!) Often, this also means studying the interaction of these stars with the interstellar medium (ISM): the stray gas lying around in galaxies, some of which will condense to form the next generation of stars.
I was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada but grew up in both Edmonton and Montreal. In 2015, I completed my doctorate in Physics at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching bei München, Germany under the supervision of Profs. Marat Gilfanov and Rashid Sunyaev. In my thesis, I developed a new means to constrain the mysterious origin of Type Ia supernovae by studying the impact that different progenitor scenarios would have on the interstellar medium. Prior to that, I completed a Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics (2005–2009) and a Master of Science in Physics (2009–2011, with Prof. Natalia Ivanova) at the University of Alberta. My MSc thesis centred around modern problems in our understanding of the stability of mass transfer in interacting binaries. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, noodling around on guitar, and travelling with my wife, Cheryl (who is a web/graphic designer by trade, and was nice enough to make this site for me!).