I am an astrophysicist/cosmologist studying the brilliant, violent deaths of stars known as supernovae. My research has mainly focused on finding and understanding supernovae in large surveys such as The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS; 2005 - 2007), The Dark Energy Survey (DES; 2012 - 2018), and, increasingly, the forthcoming Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST; ~2022 - 2031). Presently I'm co-chair of the Supernova Group in DES.
Supernovae are truly fantastic, multifaceted events providing extensive avenues for research. One variety, known as type Ia, are cosmic lighthouses that can be used to measure the expansion rate of the universe, and led to the discovery of dark energy. Another, known as superluminous supernovae, are the brightest of these already extreme events, which counter-intuitively were only discovered in the past decade. My work focuses on three broad topics, which are explained in more depth on my personal page:
- Why information about the type of galaxy the type Ia supernovae explodes in affects the ability to turn these objects into 'standard candles'
- Understanding ‘superluminous supernovae’ – what are their progenitors (the stars they were before exploding) and what explains their vast diversity.
- Supernova classification typically requires spectra of each object, which are time-senstitive and costly to obtain. How well can we use only broad-band photometry to differentiate different SN types?
- Fall 2018: Astro 344 - Advanced Topics in Astrophysics ("Cosmic Explosions")
- Spring 2019: Astro 206 - Introduction to Astrophysics II
Education & Employment
- 2004 - B.A., Physics, Mathematics, Dartmouth College
- 2011 - Ph.D., Physics & Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania
- Postdoctoral Appointments:
- Visiting Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Physics, Haverford College (2018- )