I am a software engineer at Observatory Sciences Ltd. My work mainly involves maintainance of a telescope control system software, predominantly working with Python, C and C++.
Before I started working at OSL, I was a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. I worked on exoplanets, astrobiology and biosignatures using models of the Earth’s atmosphere.
My work focused on the factors that affect planetary habitability; if we slightly change some parameter of the Earth - its size, say - how does this change the planet’s climate? The Earth is a complex system and even small changes can have unpredictable consequences. As we edge towards a detection of a true Earth analogue, these questions will become ever more important.
In addition, I investigated detectable signals that could indicate the presence of life or a habitable atmosphere. These signals will likely be chemical in nature, so it’s important to understand how chemistry on an extrasolar planet will differ from that on Earth or in the Solar System. This is best achieved through modelling.
The bulk of my work involved the Met Office Unified Model and the UKCA, which I adapted for use with simulations of exoplanets (with significant help from staff at the Met Office and the Universities of Exeter and Cambridge).
Some of the results from this work can be seen on the publications section of this site.
Other stuff about me
Before I started my PhD, I studied Physics and Astronomy for four years at the University of Durham. My MPhys project focused on the detectability of gases (and other spectroscopic features) in exoplanet atmospheres. In particular, I was interested in the use of KMOS for transmission spectroscopy. For this project I developed a model (in C) to estimate signal-to-noise ratios during transit observations for a large number of exoplanets in several optical bands.
Since I moved to Scotland I have developed an enthusiasm for the outdoors; I greatly enjoy running, cycling, hiking and camping.