Welcome to my homepage
The Quiraing on the Isle of Skye.
As of September 2013 I have started a postdoc position at the University of Rochester working with Eric Mamajek. Before this I obtained my Ph.D. at the Exeter Astrophysics Group under the supervision of Tim Naylor and previously completed an M.Phys. (Hons.) degree in Astrophysics at the University of St. Andrews.
My research is primarily focussed on testing pre-main-sequence (pre-MS) evolutionary models using photometric studies of young star-forming regions (SFRs). The long-term aim of this project is to calibrate these evolutionary models over a significant mass/age/metallicity range to yield reliable ages for young stars in various environments.
Robust and precise ages for young stars are a requirement for improving our understanding of star and planet formation and evolution, providing timescales with which to constrain the physical processes that occur in young stars as they evolve towards the main-sequence. These ages are generally derived via the comparison of photometric observations of pre-MS stars in young SFRs with theoretical evolutionary models (or isochrones) using colour-magnitude diagrams. Unfortunately, current evolutionary models used to derive pre-MS ages are unreliable. Contemporary pre-MS models do not match the observed shape of empirical isochrones (especially at lower masses) and the derived parameters are heavily model-dependent and can vary (in both age and mass) by up to a factor of 2. It is this underlying uncertainty with the pre-MS evolutionary models that has predominantly inspired my research interests.
A copy of my thesis (if you are interested) can be found here.