I’m an Einstein fellow at Berkeley Lab (LBNL), and a member of the Theoretical Astrophysics Center at UC Berkeley. My research is primarily in theoretical and computational relativistic astrophysics, in particular the dynamics of plasmas around neutron stars and black holes, which I study using global numerical simulations. I’m also interested in numerical techniques for highly magnetized plasmas, MHD and plasma physics in general, and high-order numerical methods for nonlinear systems.
A focus of my current research is general-relativistic simulations of accretion onto magnetized, rotating neutron stars. This process is central to understanding a wide range of interesting astrophysical systems, including accreting and transitional millisecond pulsars, jet-launching neutron stars, and pulsing ultra-luminous X-ray sources, and may be involved in producing short gamma-ray bursts from neutron star mergers. The physics is also directly applicable to important topics in non-relativistic astrophysics, such as star-disc magnetic interactions in protoplanetary systems. Some animations of these simulations are available (YouTube).
I’m the developer of PHAEDRA, an MPI-parallel pseudospectral simulation code which solves the equations of general-relativistic force-free electrodynamics (vanishing-inertia or ultra-relativistic MHD). I’ve used this code to study the isolated pulsar magnetosphere; magnetar giant flares driven by slow surface deformation; black hole Blandford-Znajek jet launching using disc-thickness-scale magnetic flux systems; the effect of curved spacetime on the distribution of pair production across a pulsar’s polar cap; and the interaction between the magnetosphere of a millisecond pulsar and a surrounding accretion disc. I’m working on an improved code for compact object magnetospheres, using the multidomain staggered Chebyshev method (also known as spectral differences, and a close cousin of discontinuous Galerkin schemes).
I was recently a postdoc in the Dept. of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University, and a member of the Max Planck-Princeton Center for Plasma Physics. I finished my PhD at Columbia University in 2012, writing a dissertation with Andrei Beloborodov and Lam Hui, and received an MPhys from Oxford University in 2006.