Hi, I'm Phil, welcome to my website! I am an astrophysicist currently working as a post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southampton in the UK. I recently completed my PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics. I work near the Technical University of Munich in a small town called Garching, just north of Munich in Bavaria, Germany.
What do I look at?
I am interested in exploding stars, and the galaxies in which they end their violent lives. In particular, I study supernovae of type Ia, which can be used as cosmic rulers to measure how fast the Universe is expanding. I also work with some of the most energetic explosions of stars in the Universe, called Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs), as well as the recently discovered super-luminous supernovae, which as the name suggests are really bright! There is as much energy released in a GRB as the Sun will generate in its whole lifetime, and as such we can see them even in the far reaches of the Universe. The light from these explosions has taken so long to reach us, that we are seeing them as they happened, billions of years ago. This is when the Universe was much smaller and younger than it is now. Essentially, we are using exploding stars to study the very first galaxies that formed!
What do I enjoy doing?
Outside of astronomy, I am a keen rugby player. In Munich, I played for one of the greatest rugby clubs in the world: Studentenstadt Rugby München, or StuSta for short. A mix of men, women, boys and girls from around the world, StuSta proves that rugby is a sport for everyone. If you're ever in Munich, do stop by to watch a game in the beautiful setting of the Englischer Garten.
In fact, I am a lover of many and most sports. I suffer the purgatory of supporting perennial underachievers, such as Gloucester (rugby), Liverpool and 1860 Munich (football) and the Kansas City Chiefs (American Football), and you can often find me on the terraces of Kingsholm, the Allianz Arena, or sat watching sport all afternoon. You can find some of my ramblings about sport on my Twitter page.