Eamonn Kerins, Anna Scaife, Ben Stappers and Rene Breton: Exploring the Universe from Jodrell Bank

Join Jodrell Bank researchers Eamonn Kerins, Anna Scaife, Ben Stappers and Rene Breton as they discuss the wide range of research that happens at Jodrell Bank: from planets orbiting other stars to food production here on Earth.

Eamonn Kerins is an astrophysicist at The University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics. He leads a team at Manchester that is studying exoplanets – planets around other stars. He is a leading expert on the use of gravitational lensing to find exoplanets, a technique that uses Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. Eamonn also co-leads an international survey, SPEARNET, that is detecting atmospheres around exoplanets using a global telescope network.

Eamonn is a frequent contributing expert to print and broadcast media on the topic of exoplanets and the hunt for alien life, including for outlets such as Newsweek, the BBC and HuffPost UK.

Anna Scaife is Professor of Radio Astronomy at the University of Manchester, where she is head of the Jodrell Bank Interferometry Centre of Excellence, and holds the 2017 Blaauw Chair in Astrophysics at the University of Groningen. She is the recipient of a European Research Council Fellowship for her research group’s work investigating the origin and evolution of large-scale cosmic magnetic fields, and leads a number of projects in technical radio astronomy development and scientific computing as part of the Square Kilometre Array project. As well as scientific research, Anna runs two training programs that provide bursaries for students from Southern Africa and Latin America to pursue graduate degrees in the UK focusing on Big Data and data intensive science. In 2014, Anna was honoured by the World Economic Forum as one of thirty scientists under the age of 40 selected for their contributions to advancing the frontiers of science, engineering or technology in areas of high societal impact.

Ben Stappers is a Professor of Astrophysics in the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics where he leads the Pulsars & Time Domain Astrophysics research group.

His primary research interests are radio pulsars, neutron stars and rapid radio transients. He is a member of the European Pulsar Timing Array (EPTA) and international Pulsar Timing Array (IPTA) projects which combine large radio telescopes, including the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank, to precisely time the flashes from radio pulsars (the ultra-dense remnants of exploded stars) in an attempt to detect long wavelength gravitational waves. These waves are thought to have been generated by processes in the early Universe, either inflation, cosmic strings or binary supermassive blackholes have been proposed.

Rene Breton received his PhD in Physics from McGill University, Canada, in 2009. He is a Reader in astrophysics at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics and Director of Research at the School of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Manchester. He currently holds a prestigious European Research Council Starter Grant for the study of ‘spider binary pulsars’. His main research interests revolve around the study of pulsars, which he uses to attempt to understand matter under extreme density, gravity and magnetic fields. Some of his past work enabled us to test ‘geodetic spin precession’ – a phenomenon predicted to exist in General Relativity – for the first time in the strong gravity environment. Rene also has a keen interest for science communication. He co-funded Pulsar Hunters, a citizen science project seeking help from volunteers to find new pulsars. He recently started applying his data analysis skills for research in the area of agriculture and trying to map the spread of invasive plants using satellite imaging.

Friday 2019

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