May ’24 Monthly Meeting – Things That Go BANG In The Night

Mark is a Warwick Prize Fellow working in the Astronomy and Astrophysics Group at the University of Warwick. He is a member of the Extragalactic Transients Group and his research focuses mainly on the study of supernovae with a particular emphasis on thermonuclear supernovae.

Many stars in the Universe end their lives as white dwarfs and some of those white dwarfs in binary systems will eventually explode as thermonuclear supernovae. Exactly how and why this occurs however remains a mystery, despite the hugely important role thermonuclear supernovae play in many areas of astrophysics. Although thermonuclear supernovae are often considered to be a homogeneous class, more and more diversity is being discovered that only adds to the mystery.

Mark’s work includes trying to understand which types of binary systems produce thermonuclear supernovae and the different explosion mechanisms responsible for the supernovae we observe. To do this, Mark uses a combination of observational and thereotical modelling studies. Observationally, his work includes detailed studies of individual objects with extensive data sets and larger studies centred around the properties of specific supernova populations. Mark’s theoretical work includes developing sophisticated models for different explosion scenarios that can be be directly tested against observations. He is interested in developing new machine learning techniques to overcome current limitations associated with our analysis techniques and the era of `big data’.

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