Profile

I am a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, working on simulations of the origin and impact of supermassive black holes. During my PhD with Adrianne Slyz and Julien Devrient at the University of Oxford, my research focused particularly on the progenitors of the first supermassive black holes, and the impact of active galactic nuclei feedback on galaxy evolution across cosmic history. In my first Postdoc at the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, I continue this line of research as well as working on the origin of cold gas in galaxy clusters. During my current position, I am focusing on understanding the dynamics of black holes in glaaxies, and the conditions that created the first supermassive black holes in the early Universe. full CV

Publications and Collaborations

I am part of the HORIZON and the LYRICS collaborations, and have published on topics as varied as idealised Bondi accretion simulations, black hole zoom simulations and large scale cosmological simulations.

List of Publications

Research

My research focuses on hydrodynamical simulations of supermassive black holes in a variety of different contexts, from large scale cosmological simulations, via simulations of isolated galaxies or galaxy clusters, to idealised black hole accretion simulations. I am interested in the origin and evolution of supermassive black hole across cosmic time, and the impact of their feedback on their host galaxy. A few of my papers and projects are highlighted in more detail below.

Zooming in on the first black holes

Observed with masses in excess of a billion solar masses, at a time when the universe was only about a billion years old, the origin of the first supermassive black holes remains an unsolved question today. In the face of few observations from this era, simulations provide one tool to study the origin of these black holes. However, simulating the immediate black hole environment, without loosing the galactic and cosmological context, remains a huge computational challenge. I have worked extensively on extending the range of scales covered in a single simulation, to allow a detailed study of black hole evolution in a the context of their rapidly changing environment in the early universe.

More on the black hole zoom project

Zooming in on black hole accretion

Many of the most popular current sub-grid algorithms, designed to include black hole physics on scales too small to be resolved in the simulation, date from an era before the recent improvements in resolution. To avoid introducing numerical artifacts when reaching new physical regimes, such as resolving the black hole gravitaitonal radius of influence with the black hole zoom project, requires these "tried and tested" methods to be carefully re-evaluated for their applicability in the new regime. In this paper, I conducted a numerical study of both the much-used Bondi-Hoyle-Lyttleton accretion algorithm, and the unresolved dynamical friction due to gas, in the case when the gravitational potential of the black hole is well resovled.

Paper: "Bondi or not Bondi: the impact of resolution on accretion and drag force modelling for Supermassive Black Holes" Paper: "Zooming in on supermassive black holes: how resolving their gas cloud host renders their accretion episodic"

The origin of cold gas filaments in clusters

Observations of nearby cluster, particuarly of Perseus, show extended cold gas filaments around the brightest cluster galaxy. Several kpc long but only several tens of pc wide, these origin of these filaments is still under discussion. The turbulence induced by the jet of the central active galactic nucleus is thought to play an important role. This project is part of the LYRICS collaboration.

More on the filaments in clusters project Paper: "Dense gas formation and destruction in a simulated Perseus-like galaxy cluster with spin-driven black hole feedback"

Outreach

I love to talk about my work specifically and astrophysics in general! I have given more than 20 outreach talks, to audiences ranging from primary school children to adults so I am happy to speak to and interact with any audience. My particular speciality is of course black holes but I can help you understand many different topics. If you are interested in me giving a talk at your institution, school or community, send me an email.