Research Group

Below is a list of members of my research group, including brief descriptions of some of their research.

Postdocs

Juan Calderon Bustillo

Juan works on many things related to gravitational waves, primarily at the interface between gravitational waveform modelling and data analysis techniques for binary black hole detections. He has a particular focus on detecting higher-order modes to understand gravity in the strong-field regime, including tests of the no-hair theorem, black hole kicks, and double chirps.

Greg Ashton

Greg is a postdoc in my group who works on many things including gravitational-wave emission mechanisms and detection methods for LIGO, and neutron-star physics. Greg has been a key developer in Bilby development; the parameter-estimation code that can be used to understand astrophysical propoerties of compact binary coalescences observed by LIGO, as well as other astrophysical inference problems.

PhD students

Isobel Romero-Shaw

Isobel started her PhD in late 2018. She is working on detecting gravitational waves from eccentric compact binary systems to constrain the formation mechanism, as well as understanding and driving the science case for the next generation of gravitational-wave instruments. Isobel is also involved in developing bilby in preparation for it to become the next production astrophysical inference code for the LIGO and Virgo collaborations.

Paul Easter

Paul began his PhD in 2018, and is working on the aftermath of binary neutron star mergers. Paul is trying to understand whether near-future Advanced LIGO observations of binary neutron stars can distinguish properties of the post-merger remnant. In particular, can such observations distinguish between the formation of hypermassive, supramassive, or infinitely stable neutron stars? Paul completed his honours thesis in 2017 under the supervision of myself and Andy Casey.

Moritz Hübner

Moritz began his PhD in 2018, and is working on detecting gravitational-wave memory with Advanced LIGO. Memory is an effect that causes the permanent deformation of spacetime after a gravitational wave has passed through a region of space. In a recent paper, we showed that this effect could be seen with Advanced LIGO by observing dozens of binary black hole collisions. Among other things, Moritz is building the actual search pipeline to look for this effect, and trying to understand its physical and astrophysical implications. Moritz is a key developer of the Bilby software that will soon become the production astrophysical-inference code for LIGO and Virgo detections of gravtiational-wave events.

Nikhil Sarin

Nikhil began his PhD in 2018. Nikhil is working on understanding and interpreting the afterglows of gamma-ray bursts. In particular, he is using predominantly their x-ray afterglows to understand whether millisecond magnetars were born during the binary neutron star merger that created the gamma-ray burst in the first place. Nikhil is being co-supervised by Greg Ashton. He completed his honours thesis in 2017 under the supervision of myself and Letizia Sammut, winning the prize for best astrophysics honours student at Monash.

Hayley Macpherson

Hayley began her PhD in 2016, and is primarily working on doing full, three-dimensional, non-linear numerical general relativity calculations of the evolution of the Universe as a whole. Hayley has written a number of papers on this topic showing the importance of including full general relativity into the evolution of these spacetimes. I am co-supervising Hayley with Daniel Price - we also co-supervised her honours thesis in 2015, for which she won a prize for the best astrophysics honours project at Monash.

David Liptai

David began his PhD in 2016. His project is to implement general relativity into the numerical method known as smooth particle hydrodynamics, and to apply this to various astrophysical phenomena such as accretion disks around single and binary black holes, tidal disruption events and neutron star mergers. I am co-supervising David's PhD project with Daniel Price.

Honours students

I do not currently have any honours students. Contact me if you're interested!

Previous Members

Zac Pellow

Zac was an honours student in 2018 that I co-supervised with Daniel Price. He worked on doing simulations of binary neutron stars using Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics, including trying to include tabulated neutron star equations of state into these simulations.

Kyla Adams

Kyla was an honours student in 2017 working on the aftermath of binary neutron star mergers. In particular, Kyla's thesis was on trying to understand whether it's possible that the post-merger remnant could be a quark star, as oppossed to a garden-variety neutron star. She did this in terms of whether a quark star fits with our theoretical and observational understanding of these mergers. Kyla is now doing her Masters at the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Lower

Marcus ws an honours student in 2017 who I co-supervised with Eric Thrane. Marcus studied the eccentricity evolution of binary black holes systems as a function of their formation history. His thesis was on trying to understand whether any such residual eccentricity can be observed with advanced gravitational-wave detectors, and also develop an algorithm for detecting small values of the eccentricity. Marcus is now undertaking a PhD at Swinburne University.

Lucy McNeill

Lucy was an honours student at Monash University in 2016. Her thesis was on high-frequency sources of gravitational waves, and the detectabiilty of their counter-part gravitational-wave memory signal. The effect of this lower-frequency memory signal is that LIGO's sensitivity band is effectively increased many-fold. Lucy's results were ultimately published here. Gravitational-wave memory is a strange gravitational phenomena that results in the permanent deformation of spacetime following a cataclysmic event such as a binary black hole merger. Lucy is now doing her PhD at Monash University with Rosemary Mardling.

Cristiano Leris

Cristiano was an honours student at Monash in 2016. His thesis was on detecting and understand multimessenger signals from binary neutron star mergers. In particular, he developed a method for fitting both the millisecond magnetar and fireball models to the X-ray light curves following short gamma-ray bursts, that enabled both the estimation of parameters in each model, and also did Bayesian model selection. His honours thesis was ultimately published here in ApJL.