Research Group

Below is a list of members of my research group, including brief descriptions of some of their research. Informally, my research group are known as the Pademelons.

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 many binary black hole collisions. Moritz has built the search pipeline, and used it to search for memory with the first catalogue of binary black hole mergers finding, as expected, that there is little to no evidence for memory at this early stage of gravitational-wave observations. 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.

Masters students

Kendall Jenner

Kendall is doing her Masters with David Ottaway and Lingqiao Liu at the University of Adelaide, and myself as cosupervisor. She is working on exploring machine learning algorithms for both detection and parameter estimation of compact binary coalescences for LIGO and Virgo.

Paul Vasarelli

Paul is doing the second year of his Masters, working on binary neutron star merger remnants and their electromagnetic and gravitational-wave observables.

Honours students

Maeva Berchon

Maeva is doing her honours year with myself and Andy Casey, working on dynamics of isolated neutron stars.

Teagan Clarke

Teagan is doing her honours year with myself, Eric Thrane and Isobel Romero-Shaw, working on detection and parameter estimation of gravitational-wave signals from eccentric compact binary systems.

Rowina Nathan

Rowina is doing her honours year working on pulsar timing techniques, including pulse-profile modelling and pulsar glitches.

Previous Members

Ethan Payne

Ethan was an honours student and subsequently research associate in my group working on using gravitational waves to measure inhomogeneities in the Universe's cosmological expansion, as well as testing whether ultralight boson particles can be detected either directly or indirectly with gravitational-wave observations. He completed his honours year with myself and Eric Thrane in 2020, working on aspects of compact binary coalescences with LIGO, including data analysis and astrophysics. He began his PhD at Caltech in late 2021.

Greg Ashton

Greg was a postdoc in my group from 2017 to 2020. He is currently a Lecturer at Royal Holloway in London, and will be moving to Portsmouth University in late 2021 to take up a postdoctoral position. Greg 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.

Juan Calderon Bustillo

Juan was a postdoc in my group from 2018 to 2020. He is now a La Caixa Junior Leader at the Galacian Institute of High Energy Physics in Spain. 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.

Hayley Macpherson

Hayley completed her PhD in 2019, primarily working on 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-supervised Hayley with Daniel Price. Hayley is now a Herchel Smith Fellow at DAMTP in Cambridge.

David Liptai

Dvid began his PhD in 2016 and submitted it in late 2019. His project implemented general relativity into the numerical method known as smooth particle hydrodynamics, and applied this to various astrophysical phenomena such as accretion disks around single and binary black holes, tidal disruption events and neutron star mergers. I co-supervised David's PhD project with Daniel Price.

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 has completed her Masters at the University of Melbourne, and is no doing a PhD at the University of Western Australia.

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 Bernhard Mueller and Ilya Mandel.

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.