2004-2008 Physics with Astrophysics MPhys, University of Bristol, 2.1, with Honours.
2010 Postgraduate research student, Galaxies and Observational Cosmology, School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University.
Academic / Research
2007 • Summer Studentship, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Exeter. Developing a method to detect young stars in colour magnitude diagrams using infrared excess due to their circumstellar discs
2008 • Summer Studentship, Particle Physics Group, University of Bristol. Finite element modelling with an aim to reduce the magnetic field surrounding components in the 2013 upgrade of the LHC
2008-2010 Physicist in Acoustics, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) Porton Down, Research working on a variety of military and non-military applications for the UK Ministry of Defence.
2002 • System Support Unit, North Devon College, Work experience placement providing IT support at a Further Education College.
2002-2006 Dishwasher and Food prep, Pasty Presto, Atlantic Village, Holiday and weekend work while in full-time education.
2006 • Factory worker, Greenfield Engineering, Holsworthy, Physical work producing mainly office supplies including desks, chairs and room dividers.
2012 Astronomical Observing, James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, Observing experience on Mauna Kea and continuous use of data reduction tools for the sub-mm SCUBA2 instrument since then.
2011 Section Editor, Popular Astronomy Magazine, Editor of the Young Stargazers section, bringing together and writing articles on astronomy, astrophysics and space travel for a young audience.
2013 Herschel UK outreach website, herschel.cf.ac.uk, Tasked with updating the website, including rewriting the science pages.
2011/12 School Astronomy Club, St. Joseph’s R.C. Primary School, Penarth, Cardiff, Helped run an after school astronomy club where pupils were taught about astronomy topics and shown how to use a telescope to observe the sky.
2004 Microsoft Office, Extensive use of Word and Excel for all kinds of applications. A Windows user from an early age.
2007 LATEX, Used for all reports written during my time with the MoD and all contributions to Astronomy journals. Experience with many types of documents including letters, scientific journal articles and CVs. Used daily.
2003-2004 Mathematica, Used during my final year research project.
2008 MATLAB, Used exclusively during my employment at DSTL Porton Down for signal processing and plotting. During my PhD I have used MATLAB for data analysis, image display and manipulation on a daily basis.
2010 IDL, Used extensively for manipulation of .fits files due to the extensive IDL Astrolibrary, including convolving and regridding data, and production of new astronomical maps.
2010 Python, A work in progress. I have a working knowledge from the start of my PhD where I used the Herschel Space Observatory observer’s tool, HIPE, which uses a modified version of the language.
My work at Cardiff has focussed on infrared observations of nearby galaxies. The collaborations I am a part of have utilised far infrared data from the Herschel Space Observatory to understand galaxy evolution from their dust properties. Nearby galaxies give us the best views we have in the universe and the opportunity to study the small scale physics that determines how structures form on much larger scales. A significant portion of my work has been on the Herschel Reference Survey (HRS) attempting to determine differences in the dust and star formation properties of galaxies based on their morphology, Hubble-type and stellar mass. The primary conclusion of the work was that the presence of a bar has little effect on the global dust properties of the galaxies. An immediate piece of follow-up would be to isolate the circumnuclear regions from the disk of resolved barred galaxies to determine whether star formation may be enhanced in the centre, and quenched in the outer regions by the funnelling of material. One difference that was observed, is that the barred galaxies were generally smaller (low stellar mass) suggesting that by the current epoch massive spirals have created and destroyed their bars - assuming bar creation is a cyclic process. The majority of my time has been spent on the Local Group galaxies Andromeda (M31) and the Triangulum (M33). As part of this I have used data from a variety of instruments in addition to Herschel, including GALEX and Spitzer. I have measured unobscured and embedded star formation rates using ultraviolet and infrared data, in order to calibrate against the total far-infrared luminosity and test the star formation law on 140pc scales. My work shows that the star formation law with molecular gas is approximately linear on small scales in these galaxies but I do find evidence of a sub-linear law in M31. This suggests two immediate follow-up pieces of work. The first is to test beyond doubt that the star formation law is sub-linear in M31, which would suggest star formation becomes less efficient at high gas densities. This would require high fidelity data of dense gas tracers and exploration of star formation indicator calibration on small scales. The second is if the star formation law is linear, as long as we trace the dense molecular gas, the next step is to determine how the more diffuse atomic gas, HI, becomes molecular and where it does so more efficiently. One test would be to determine a dust grain size as the greater the surface area to volume of dust, the more sites are available for molecules to form. I would like to continue work on star formation/evolution and the interstellar medium on large scales and nearby galaxy evolution but would also welcome a move to probing the more distant universe as during my degree my main interest was cosmology, evidenced by my seeking out a cosmology topic for my final year project. I would also like the opportunity to broaden my knowledge of astrophysics while I’m at this early stage in my career.
Ford, G. P. et al, 2013; Herschel Exploitation of Local Galaxy Andromeda (HELGA) III: The Star Formation Law in M31.
Fritz, J. et al, 2012; Herschel Exploitation of Local Galaxy Andromeda (HELGA) I: Global far-infrared and sub-mm morphology
Smith, M. W. L. et al 2012; Herschel Exploitation of Local Galaxy Andromeda (HELGA) II: Dust and Gas in Andromeda
Kirk, J. M. et al, 2013; Herschel Exploitation of Local Galaxy Andromeda (HELGA) IV: The distribution and properties of molecular cloud associations in M31.
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