I am a first-year PhD student at Curtin University with the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR).
As part of the Commensal Real-time ASKAP Fast Transient (CRAFT) group, I work with A/Prof Cathryn Trott, Dr Clancy James and Dr Mark Walker to unravel some of the mystery surrounding the lensing of cosmological transients on nanosecond timescales. Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are one class of cosmological transients and constitute the primary focus of PhD work. FRBs are extremely energetic pulses of radio wavelength light that enter the Milky Way from a distant galaxy. The mechanism that generates these bursts is a mystery, but we know that it requires more energy than the Sun emits in a month to be released in mere milliseconds. The CRAFT group specialises in searching for and studying FRBs using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.
More so than their origins, I am interested in the processes that affect the propagation of FRBs. Similarly to how a wave crashing on the shore has been shaped by the ocean floor or a breaching rock out at sea, the structure of the Universe impacts how FRBs reach our telescopes. By studying FRBs carefully at reception we can begin to probe the Universe in a whole new way and inspect long-standing problems such as dark matter in a whole new light.
I completed my undergraduate degree at Curtin University, in physics with a specialisation in astronomy and continued on to do Honours with the CRAFT group the following year, under the guiding tuition of A/Prof Jean-Pierre Macquart. During this year I modeled the strong gravitational lensing of FRBs in order to constrain the fraction of dark matter comprised of compact objects (found here). Preceding the commencement of my Honours year I undertook a summer studentship at the University of Western Australia‘s (UWA) ICRAR node, where I worked with Rodrigo Tobar and Dr Claudia Lagos on a particle swarm optimisation routine for the open-source, semi-analytic galaxy evolution model, SHARK.
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