I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Astronomy of Physics at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, NS. My research focuses on how supermassive black holes in the centres of galaxy power AGN, some of the most luminous objects we see in the Universe. Specifically, I am interested in how we can bridge the divide between observational and theoretical studies of accreting black holes and prepare for the next generation X-ray observatories to build up a three-dimensional picture of the infalling material just moments before it passes the event horizon, the limit beyond which nothing can escape (read more).

I obtained my Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 2013, working with Prof Andy Fabian in the X-ray group of the Institute of Astronomy. I was awarded my Masters degree in Natural Sciences (Experimental and Theoretical Physics), also from the University of Cambridge (Jesus College), in 2009.

I have a particular interest in communicating science to the general public. I have given a number of talks to public audiences as well as to students in local schools, youth groups and others about astronomy and physics. I also run stargazing evenings and have given tours and demonstrations of both modern and historical telescopes.

I give astronomy lectures on board transatlantic crossings and the World Voyage of Queen Mary 2 as part of the Cunard Insights programme as well as giving live planetarium shows on board (in the only planetarium at sea) and hosting stargazing evenings on the decks.

In spend a lot of my spare time rowing (and coaching), am one of the chief umpires for the Cambridge University Bumps races and also do a fair bit of web design professionally.

Latest: X-ray flares from the supermassive black hole in Markarian 335 linked to the collimation and ejection of the corona of energetic particles, reminiscent of an aborted jet.

Paper • Press Release (NASA) • Interview (CTV News, Canada)

Modelling X-ray Reverberation from Extended Coronae: Hints of structure within the X-ray emitting coronae of AGN


CRAQ Summer School: Course on the theory of black holes (26 August 2016)

Course notes

Room AT 314

Astronomy and Physics
Saint Mary's University
923 Robie Street
Nova Scotia
B3H 3C3

E-mail drw@ap (.smu.ca)
Telephone +1 (902) 420-5027