I split my time at work between Waveseis LLC and the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy of the University of Amsterdam. Previously, I was a member of Hertford College, Oxford, where I studied Physics and, latterly, Astrophysics. Before that, I was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland.

AARTFAAC

AARTFAAC, the Amsterdam–ASTRON Radio Transients Facility and Analysis Centre, is extending LOFAR to provide an always-on, all-sky radio transients monitoring system. This presents a formidable "SKA—scale" data processing challenge. I lead the software development part of the project.

LOFAR Transients

LOFAR, the LOw Frequency ARray, is a next-generation radio telescope currently under construction in the Netherlands and across Europe. I am associated with LOFAR's Transients Key Science Project, where I am co-leader of the group developing software and techniques for discovering, classifiying and responding to "slow" (timescales of seconds upwards) radio transients.

VOEvent

Rapidly disseminating notification of, and coordinating response to, transients across a variety of heterogeneous telescopes is challenging, but is essential to optimize scientific returns. The International Virtual Observatory Alliance Time Domain Interest Group, of which I am chair, takes the leading role in defining interoperable event representations and transport mechanisms to make the best science possible.

I am the author of Comet, an implementation of the publisher, broker and subscriber functionality defined in the VOEvent Transport Protocol.

Global Jet Watch

SS433, an eclipsing X-ray binary system, is one of the most exotic objects in our galaxy. The Global Jet Watch project aims to provide round-the-clock monitoring of this object by deploying a network of (relatively) small optical telescopes equipped with custom-built spectrographs to schools around the world. In this way, we hope to combine an exciting scientific education and outreach project with worthwhile astronomical results.

Doctoral Work

I completed a DPhil at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Drs Joanne Baker and Isobel Hook between 2002 and 2006. My research used the Taurus Tunable Filter, an innovative instrument on the Anglo-Australian Telescope, to probe the star-forming environments of high-redshift quasars.

My thesis is available for download as a PDF; it weighs in at just over 9 MB. See also Swinbank et. al, MNRAS 422, 2980–2991, 2012.