February 2024 Lecture – Dr. Matt Nicholl (QUB) – Fantastic Bursts and Where to Find Them

For our second lecture of 2024, we have a new speaker to the society, Dr. Matt Nicholl from Queens University Belfast. Dr. Nicholl will be giving us a talk titled ‘Fantastic Bursts and Where to Find Them‘.

This lecture will be held on Monday 5th February 2024 starting at 8pm sharp. Join us in our usual venue of Ballyclare High School Lecture Theatre.

About the talk:
Massive stars end their lives in spectacular explosions called supernovae, filling galaxies with the elements needed for life. Nearby supernovae have been witnessed by civilisations throughout history, at a rate of around one per century. In the modern era, large robotic telescopes are discovering hundreds of likely supernovae every night, leading to extraordinary new discoveries. In this talk, I will give an overview of how these sources are found and classified, and why they explode. I will then describe the new class of “superluminous” supernovae, a rare and mysterious type of explosion that emits more light than we had previously thought possible, and detail the latest theories of what these events could be. Finally, I will introduce a brand new type of superluminous, fast-evolving explosion discovered recently by astronomers at QUB.

About Matt:
Matt Nicholl is a Reader in Astrophysics at Queen’s University Belfast. Since obtaining his PhD from QUB in 2015, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, a Royal Astronomical Society Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, and a lecturer at the University of Birmingham, before returning to Queen’s in 2023. He is interested in the diversity of astrophysical explosions, and in particular how compact objects (neutron stars and black holes) provide the engines behind some of the rarest and most energetic events in the Universe.

Click here for more info about Dr. Matt Nicholl

I’m sure you will join me in making Matt very welcome to the NIAAS and we really are looking forward to hearing his talk.

Tea, biscuits and good chitchat will be available after the meeting!

Look forward to seeing you there!