I am currently head of the Astrophysics sub-department within the broader Physics department, at the University of Oxford.
My particular research interests are in the areas of accretion and feedback around relativistic objects, mostly advanced via observations with radio telescopes such as AMI-LA, e-MERLIN and MeerKAT (although I dabble in many other areas). As well as targeted studies, I am also involved in wide field commensal searches for radio transients.
Previously I was Professor of Physics at The University of Southampton, and prior to that Universitair Hoofddocent at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. I have been a Visiting Professor at The University of Grenoble, and since 2010 hold a position as a Visiting SKA Professor at The University of Cape Town.
Amongst other highlights, I led the national collaboration via which the UK joined the LOFAR project, was awarded in 2011 an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant, was chair of the SKA Transients Science Working Group, and was awarded the 2020 Herschel Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society for "investigations of outstanding merit in observational astrophysics", mainly in recognition of my work on accretion around black holes and the connection to relativistic jets.
I am also a recipient of the Philip Leverhulme Prize, a Marie Curie Fellowship, an NWO VIDI prize, and a Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship.
At Oxford I have a large group working on transients and accretion, and am head of the Transients strand of the Hintze Centre for Astrophysical Surveys.
In 2021 I became the co-lead of the next-generation Event Horizon Telescope (ngEHT) working group on Astrophysical Transients.
In 2022 I became part of the Einstein Telescope science collaboration (OSB Division 4).
In December 2022 myself, Sera Markoff and Heino Falcke were awarded a 14 MEuro ERC Synergy Grant, 'Blackholistic', to bring together our understanding of black holes on all mass scales. A key component of this project will be the construction of The African Millimetre Telescope (AMT) in Namibia which will both extend dramatically the baseline coverage of the Event Horizon Telescope, and work as a stand-alone transients monitoring facility. Exciting times!
I recently did a TEDx talk on why black holes are so fascinating and how there should be many relatively nearby that maybe - just maybe - one day the human race could travel to: