I am currently based at Imperial College London, where I am on a Royal Astronomical Society Research Fellowship. I have spent my research career in London so far, completing my PhD and first postdoctoral position at UCL before heading off to Imperial College for my current fellowship. My research is in the Epoch of Reionisation, a rather off-putting name for a very exciting time in our Universe – when the lights first switched on! As those first stars formed and starting flinging out high energy radiation, they formed bubbles of ionised hydrogen around them. We can observe this hydrogen today with radio telescopes and the race is on to make the first detection of the Epoch of Reionisation. I work mainly with the European telescope LOFAR based in the Netherlands and hey, who knows, maybe 2018 is the year for that first detection…
I enjoy speaking at outreach events and this year will be attending Cheltenham Science Festival, the EuroScience Open Forum and New Scientist Live. I also am busy writing a book on the subject of the first stars, coming out with Bloomsbury Sigma in 2020.
I am passionate about trying to make astronomy and universities in general pleasant, safe places for everyone who works and studies there. I speak regularly on the topic of harassment and bullying in physics in the media and a member of The 1752 Group, a research organisation coming to end staff-to-student sexual misconduct. I’m always happy to talk about the issues and all the fantastic work being done to make sure everyone can just get on and do science!
You can find me on Twitter: @DrEOChapman