Dr Christopher P L Berry MA, MSci, PhD (Cantab)

Dr Christopher P L Berry

School of Physics and Astronomy
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Contact details

Address
School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Christopher Berry is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working as part of the Gravitational Wave Group. He is a theoretical astrophysicist primarily interested in gravity and how gravitational interactions can teach us about astrophysical systems, and how astronomical measurements can teach us about gravity. His research is focussed upon how gravitational waves can improve our understanding of compact objects such as black holes that are difficult to observe by other means.

Christopher takes a keen interest in science education, whether in a formal setting teaching undergraduates or more informally communicating with the public at outreach events.

Qualifications

  • PhD in Astronomy, University of Cambridge, 2013
  • BA (Hons), MSci Natural Sciences (Experimental & Theoretical Physics), University of Cambridge, 2009

Biography

Christopher Berry read Natural Sciences, specialising in Physics, at Churchill College, University of Cambridge as an undergraduate. He continued at Cambridge, to study for a PhD in Astronomy at the Institute of Astronomy. Under the supervision of Jonathan Gair, he developed a special interest in gravitational waves and their use as a means of learning about the Universe.

Christopher joined the University of Birmingham in October 2013 as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. He continues to investigate the scientific potential of gravitational-wave astronomy, now as a member of the international LIGO Scientific Collaboration. He is a veteran of the first observations of gravitational waves, and was heavily involved in the analysis of GW150914, LVT151012, GW151226 and GW170104.

Christopher enjoys teaching and enthusing others about science. He taught a variety of Physics undergraduate courses, and participates in a range of outreach activities to engage the public, such as the Astronomy in the City events.

Research

Christopher's current research concentrates on parameter estimation for gravitational-wave astronomy, looking at how we can extract the information encoded in gravitational waves and use this to infer properties of their source systems as well as the astrophysically processes that formed them.

Gravitational-wave observations will teach us about neutron stars and black holes, the dense remnants of stellar evolution. By studying neutron stars we can potentially learn about the properties of matter at extreme (nuclear) densities. Black holes are the prefect laboratory to teach us about Einstein's theory of general relativity. Both neutron stars and black holes are the remains of dead stars. By understanding the properties of the population of neutron stars and black holes, we will improve our understanding of how stars evolve.

Publications