Dr Stephen Fairhurst
My research focuses on the search for gravitational waves, using the LIGO, Virgo and GEO detectors. In particular, I specialize in searching for gravitational wave signals emitted by merging black holes and/or neutron stars. I have developed large parts of the current analysis pipeline and used this to lead searches of the initial LIGO and Virgo data. I am particularly interested in searching for gravitational wave signals around times of potential electromagnetic counterparts, such as Gamma Ray Bursts. I was one of the instigators of the NINJA project which seeks to improve gravitational wave searches by utilizing black hole merger waveforms generated in numerical simulations.
Measures of Esteem
I have given a number of invited talks in recent years, including
- "Gravitational Wave Astronomy with Compact Binaries: Localization and Latency", KITP, Santa Barbara, USA, 2012
- "Gravitational Wave Astronomy", NEB15, Crete, Greece, 2012
- "Gravitational Wave Astronomy," Goa, India 2011
- "Current and Future Challenges in Gravitational Wave Observation," London, UK, 2010
- "Searching for Gravitational Waves from Coalescing Binary Systems," Penn State, PA, USA, 2009
- "Current status of exploiting theoretical modelling of gravity waves in data analysis,", Santa Barbara, CA, USA, 2008.
I have been involved in the organisation of a number of conferences including Amaldi 9 and NRDA 2011, Cardiff; NRDA 2010, Waterloo, Canada.
I serve on the editorial board of the International Journal of Modern Physics D and on the advisory panel of Classical and Quantum Gravity.
Membership of external committees
- I am chair of the STFC Computing Advisory Panel.
- I am a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration's Executive Committee.
- Module organiser for Computational Skills for Problem Solving (PX1224). Course website.
- Deputy module organiser for General Relativity (PX4115).
- Deputy module organiser for Topics in Astronomy (PX2109) from 2009-11.
- Admissions tutor for Astronomy and Gravitational physics PhDs.
- Chair of departmental web committee.
- Member of departmental computing committee.
I obtained a BA in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge in 1995, and completed the part III mathematics in 1996. I obtained my PhD in Physics from Penn State University in 2001, supervised by Abhay Ashtekar. My doctoral research focused on the properties of black hole horizons.
Following my PhD, I was a Killam postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alberta for two years and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee for three years. It was at Milwaukee that I began to work on searches for gravitational waves using the LIGO, Virgo and GEO detectors. I worked for a year as a visiting associate at the California Institute of technology for a year.
I joined the staff at Cardiff University in 2007 as a Royal Society University Research Fellow. I am currently still a URF and a Reader at Cardiff University.
I currently supervise two PhD students: Andrew Williamson and Alistair Muir My former students are:
- Dr Ian Harry, now a postdoctoral researcher at Albert Einstein Institut, Berlin;
- Dr Valeriu Predoi, now a postdoctoral researcher at Cardiff University
- Dr Duncan Macleod, now a postdoctoral researcher at Louisiana State University.