Schmidt A.I. in Science Project
Creating A Virtual Research Assistant for the New Generation of Sky Surveys
Over the last decade humanity has developed an unprecedented capability to monitor the night sky and track its changing features: from Near-Earth Asteroids to Supernovae and other stellar explosions, the amount of transient events detected every night has already surpassed our ability to properly follow-up these events.
Explosive transients are particularly important to categorise because the various “flavours” they come in can inform different areas of Astrophysics, from the expansion of the Universe to the origin of the elements we need to create planets like the Earth.
My Schmidt A.I. Fellowship will address this need by creating a Virtual Research Assistant (V.R.A) that will help humans classify the new cosmic explosions we detect night after night. Working in partnership with Professor Stephen Smartt (Astrophysics) and Professor Stephen Roberts (Machine Learning), I aim to create a first working prototype of the V.R.A. before the new Vera Rubin Observatory opens its dome in 2024.
In addition to my work as developer of the V.R.A. I remain involved in international team that aim to better understand the how different types of stellar explosions arise and track their stellar genealogy:
- The BPASS team (Binary Population And Spectral Synthesis code) works to provide state-of-the-art detailed binary stellar evolution data to compare to observational properties of stars. I am the developer of hoki, a python package which makes our data products easy to use (see GitHub and the JOSS paper). I used our data and additional numerical simulations to study the first confirmed Kilonova explosion GW170817 (see Nature Astronomy paper).
- The ENGRAVE collaboration is dedicated to following up the visible components of the explosions that come after Gravitational Wave events. The new observing run of gravitational wave detectors in 2023/2024 is expected to bring new candidate kilonovae which we will observe with some of the largest ground telescopes in the world. If good images of the home galaxy of these explosions can be obtained I will be able to track the most likely stellar genealogy of the neutron stars/black holes that lead to the events using the methods described in the papers cited above.
Originally born and raised in France, I moved to the UK to study Physics and Astronomy at the University of Sheffield. After working as a support astronomer at the Isaac Newton Group in La Palma for a year, I obtained my Masters of Physics in 2015. I subsequently started a PhD studying the 3D shape of Core Collapse Supernovae, and earned my title in Spring 2019. In July of that year, I joined the University of Auckland as a Research Fellow to research the evolution of massive stars to better understand how they die and produce Supernovae and Kilonovae. In 2021 I was honoured to receive the title of Beatrice Tinsley Lecturer by the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand, which led to a national tour of Public Lectures to introduce the public to Black-Hole and Neutron Star mergers. Finally in 2023 I received a Schmidt A.I. in Science Fellowship from the University of Oxford where I am currently developing A.I. models for international sky surveys that can detect thousands of supernovae and other stellar explosions every year.
Between 2016 and early 2022 I participated in ~75 live events, from public talks to podcasts and TV/radio interviews.
I am no longer in a position to lead the organisation of outreach events but if you would like me to speak at your event or consult with me feel free to email me (see top of the page). Not that I no longer produce short form content for Tik Tok or Twitter and will not respond to these enqueries.
- Hoki documentation and tutorials
- Summary of "End-to-end study of the home and genealogy of the first binary neutron star merger" (Stevance et al. 2023)
- Be Concise, Yet Precise - A guide to scientific writing.
- Switching PhD Advisor: The "Good", The Bad And The Ugly | Advice From People Who Switched PhD Advisor
- A Brief Introduction to Supernova Spectropolarimetry