I am a first year DPhil student working on finding and classifying radio transients found by the MeerKAT telescope.
As part of the ThunderKAT survey team, I will be using MeerKAT to identify some of the explosive, dynamic systems that until very recently have eluded astronomers. To do this I am utilising the telescope's large field of view along with the plethora of data available from both my team and other survey projects on the telescope. From stars like our Sun flaring up to colliding black holes, the range of interesting astrophysics that
As part of this I'll be asking helpful citizen scientists to sift through the large amounts of data we have available, using the Zooniverse platform. Over two million volunteers around the world have helped to find exoplanets, describe galaxies and hunt for supernovae. They even host lots of non-astronomical research projects, such as reviewing camera footage from the Serengeti or digitalising ancient books for modern readers.
In order to deal with the large datasets from MeerKAT, I also use machine learning to aid in our search for exotic and rare transients. This is a quickly growing area of astronomical research, with upcoming projects like the Square Kilometre Array and the Vera Rubin Observatory set to inundate research communities with a wealth of interesting data to explore. By harnessing powerful models like Neural Networks we can draw as much interesting and varied science from these big collaborations.
I am also an avid science communicator and am passionate about spreading my love of science to the public, as well as starting discussions about accessing Oxford and increasing the diversity of those who work in STEM. For 4 years I took part in outreach efforts at my alma mater, the University of Manchester, giving talks to kids aged 5 up to big-kids aged 80+. As part of my time with the outreach group we took our talks and physics demonstrations to museums, parks, festivals and even trams! During my research degree and beyond I hope to continue these efforts via events like Stargazing Live and the Physics outreach team, as well as in my role as a member of the Royal Astronomical Society. If you want someone to talk about science, please do get in touch!