Dr Matt Nicholl PhD

Dr Matt Nicholl

School of Physics and Astronomy
Lecturer in Gravitational Wave Astronomy
Royal Astronomical Society Research Fellow

Contact details

Address
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Dr Matt Nicholl is a lecturer in the School of Physics and Astronomy and the Institute of Gravitational Wave Astronomy, where he also holds a Royal Astronomical Society Research Fellowship.

His research looks at a wide range of explosive astrophysical phenomena including supernovae, tidal disruptions of stars by supermassive black holes, and neutron star mergers detected through their gravitational wave emission. He studies these events using observations across the electromagnetic spectrum from ground- and space-based telescopes.

Matt has published over 90 research papers with more than 6000 citations and an h-index of 40. He is an enthusiastic commentator on science stories in the media and can always be reached for comment.

Qualifications

  • PhD in Astrophysics 2015, Queen’s University Belfast
  • MPhys in Physics 2012, Oxford University

Teaching

Y4 project supervision

Postgraduate supervision

Explosive astrophysics from time-domain surveys:

Every second, somewhere in the Universe a star explodes and briefly outshines an entire galaxy. With increasingly powerful sky surveys, we are finding more and more supernovae and other bright transient phenomena in real time, and discovering an extremely diverse zoo of observational properties. The goals of time-domain astronomy are to characterise how and why stars end their lives in such different ways in order to understand stellar evolution, the physics of neutron stars and black holes, and the creation of the chemical elements.

I am looking for students interested in ultra-bright supernovae, disruptions of stars by supermassive black holes, and/or searching for the electromagnetic signals of neutron star mergers detected through gravitational waves.

Research

Time-domain astrophysics, multimessenger astronomy, superluminous supernovae, electromagnetic follow-up of gravitational waves, tidal disruption events, fast radio bursts, time-domain surveys, optical and near-infrared observations, spectroscopy, light curve modelling, transient host galaxies

Publications

Recent publications

Article

Charalampopoulos, P, Leloudas, G, Malesani, DB, Wevers, T, Arcavi, I, Nicholl, M, Pursiainen, M, Lawrence, A, Anderson, JP, Benetti, S, Cannizzaro, G, Chen, T-W, Galbany, L, Gromadzki, M, Gutiérrez, CP, Inserra, C, Jonker, PG, Müller-Bravo, TE, Onori, F, Short, P, Sollerman, J & Young, DR 2022, 'A detailed spectroscopic study of tidal disruption events', Astronomy and Astrophysics, vol. 659, A34. https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/202142122

Laha, S, Meyer, E, Roychowdhury, A, Becerra Gonzalez, J, Acosta-Pulido, JA, Thapa, A, Ghosh, R, Behar, E, Gallo, LC, Kriss, GA, Panessa, F, Bianchi, S, La Franca, F, Scepi, N, Begelman, MC, Longinotti, AL, Lusso, E, Oates, S, Nicholl, M & Cenko, SB 2022, 'A radio, optical, UV, and X-Ray view of the enigmatic changing-look active galactic nucleus 1ES 1927+654 from Its pre- to postflare states', The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 931, no. 1, 5. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ac63aa

Fiore, A, Benetti, S, Nicholl, M, Reguitti, A, Cappellaro, E, Campana, S, Bose, S, Paraskeva, E, Berger, E, Bravo, TM, Burke, J, Cai, Y-Z, Chen, T-W, Chen, P, Ciolfi, R, Dong, S, Gomez, S, Gromadzki, M, Gutiérrez, CP, Hiramatsu, D, Hosseinzadeh, G, Howell, DA, Jerkstrand, A, Kankare, E, Kozyreva, A, Maguire, K, McCully, C, Ochner, P, Pellegrino, C, Pignata, G, Post, RS, Elias-Rosa, N, Shahbandeh, M, Schuldt, S, Thomas, BP, Tomasella, L, Vinkó, J, Vogl, C, Wheeler, JC & Young, DR 2022, 'Close, bright, and boxy: the superluminous SN 2018hti', Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 512, no. 3, pp. 4484–4502. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stac744

Gompertz, BP, Nicholl, M, Schmidt, P, Pratten, G & Vecchio, A 2022, 'Constraints on compact binary merger evolution from spin-orbit misalignment in gravitational-wave observations', Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 511, no. 1, pp. 1454-1461. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stac029

Hajela, A, Margutti, R, Bright, JS, Alexander, KD, Metzger, BD, Nedora, V, Kathirgamaraju, A, Margalit, B, Radice, D, Berger, E, MacFadyen, A, Giannios, D, Chornock, R, Heywood, I, Sironi, L, Gottlieb, O, Coppejans, D, Laskar, T, Cendes, Y, Duran, RB, Eftekhari, T, Fong, W, McDowell, A, Nicholl, M, Xie, X, Zrake, J, Bernuzzi, S, Broekgaarden, FS, Kilpatrick, CD, Terreran, G, Villar, VA, Blanchard, PK, Gomez, S, Hosseinzadeh, G, Matthews, DJ & Rastinejad, JC 2022, 'Evidence for X-Ray emission in excess to the jet-afterglow decay 3.5 yr after the binary neutron star merger GW 170817: a new emission component', Astrophysical Journal Letters, vol. 927, no. 1, L17. https://doi.org/10.3847/2041-8213/ac504a

Sheng, X, Ross, N & Nicholl, M 2022, 'Legacy Survey of Space and Time cadence strategy evaluations for active galactic nucleus time-series data in Wide-Fast-Deep field', Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 512, no. 4, pp. 5580-5600. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stac803

Irani, I, Prentice, SJ, Schulze, S, Gal-Yam, A, Teffs, J, Mazzali, P, Sollerman, J, Gonzalez, EP, Taggart, K, De, K, Fremling, C, Perley, DA, Strotjohann, NL, Kasliwal, MM, Howell, A, Dhawan, S, Tzanidakis, A, Hiramatsu, D, Kool, EC, Anderson, JP, Müller-Bravo, TE, Dekany, R, Gromadzki, M, Carini, R, Galbany, L, Drake, AJ, Burke, J, Pellegrino, C, Della Valle, M, Medford, MS, Rusholme, B, Young, DR, Gutiérrez, CP, Inserra, C, Omer, R, Shupe, DL, Chen, TW, Shin, KM, Yaron, O, McCully, C, Nicholl, M & Riddle, R 2022, 'Less than 1% of core-collapse supernovae in the local universe occur in elliptical galaxies', Astrophysical Journal, vol. 927, no. 1, 10. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ac4709

Laha, S, Wadiasingh, Z, Parsotan, T, Lien, A, Younes, G, Zhang, B, Bradley Cenko, S, Troja, E, Oates, S, Nicholl, M, Meyer, E, Becerra González, J, Ghosh, R & Klingler, N 2022, 'Limits on the hard x-ray emission from the periodic fast radio burst FRB 180916.J0158+65', Astrophysical Journal, vol. 929, no. 2, 173. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ac5f3c

Yin, Y, Gomez, S, Berger, E, Hosseinzadeh, G, Nicholl, M & Blanchard, PK 2022, 'Optical observations and modeling of the superluminous supernova 2018lfe', The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 931, no. 1, 32. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ac6183

Brennan, SJ, Fraser, M, Johansson, J, Pastorello, A, Kotak, R, Stevance, HF, Chen, T-W, Eldridge, JJ, Bose, S, Brown, PJ, Callis, E, Cartier, R, Dennefeld, M, Dong, S, Duffy, P, Elias-Rosa, N, Hosseinzadeh, G, Hsiao, E, Kuncarayakti, H, Martin-Carrillo, A, Monard, B, Nyholm, A, Pignata, G, Sand, D, Shappee, BJ, Smartt, SJ, Tucker, BE, Wyrzykowski, L, Abbot, H, Benetti, S, Bento, J, Blondin, S, Chen, P, Delgado, A, Galbany, L, Gromadzki, M, Gutiérrez, CP, Hanlon, L, Harrison, DL, Hiramatsu, D, Hodgkin, ST, Holoien, TW-S, Howell, DA, Inserra, C, Kankare, E, Kozłowski, S, Müller-Bravo, TE, Maguire, K, McCully, C, Meintjes, P, Morrell, N, Nicholl, M, O'Neill, D, Pietrukowicz, P, Poleski, R, Prieto, JL, Rau, A, Reichart, DE, Schweyer, T, Shahbandeh, M, Skowron, J, Sollerman, J, Soszyński, I, Stritzinger, MD, Szymański, M, Tartaglia, L, Udalski, A, Ulaczyk, K, Young, DR, van Leeuwen, M & van Soelen, B 2022, 'Photometric and spectroscopic evolution of the interacting transient AT 2016jbu(Gaia16cfr)', Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 513, no. 4, pp. 5642–5665. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stac1243

Brennan, SJ, Fraser, M, Johansson, J, Pastorello, A, Kotak, R, Stevance, HF, Chen, T-W, Eldridge, JJ, Bose, S, Brown, PJ, Callis, E, Cartier, R, Dennefeld, M, Dong, S, Duffy, P, Elias-Rosa, N, Hosseinzadeh, G, Hsiao, E, Kuncarayakti, H, Martin-Carrillo, A, Monard, B, Pignata, G, Sand, D, Shappee, BJ, Smartt, SJ, Tucker, BE, Wyrzykowski, L, Abbot, H, Benetti, S, Bento, J, Blondin, S, Chen, P, Delgado, A, Galbany, L, Gromadzki, M, Gutiérrez, CP, Hanlon, L, Harrison, DL, Hiramatsu, D, Hodgkin, ST, Holoien, TW-S, Howell, DA, Inserra, C, Kankare, E, Kozłowski, S, Müller-Bravo, TE, Maguire, K, McCully, C, Meintjes, P, Morrell, N, Nicholl, M, O'Neill, D, Pietrukowicz, P, Poleski, R, Prieto, JL, Rau, A, Reichart, DE, Schweyer, T, Shahbandeh, M, Skowron, J, Sollerman, J, Soszyński, I, Stritzinger, MD, Szymański, M, Tartaglia, L, Udalski, A, Ulaczyk, K, Young, DR, van Leeuwen, M & van Soelen, B 2022, 'Progenitor, environment, and modelling of the interacting transient AT 2016jbu (Gaia16cfr)', Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 513, no. 4, pp. 5666–5685. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stac1228

Laha, S, Younes, G, Wadiasingh, Z, Wang, B-J, Lee, K-J, Klingler, N, Zhang, B, Xu, H, Zhang, C-F, Zhu, W-W, Ghosh, R, Lien, A, Troja, E, Cenko, SB, Oates, S, Nicholl, M, Becerra González, J, Meyer, E & Parsotan, T 2022, 'Simultaneous view of FRB 180301 with FAST and NICER during a bursting phase', The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 930, no. 2, 172. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ac63a8

Andreoni, I, Margutti, R, Salafia, OS, Parazin, B, Villar, VA, Coughlin, MW, Yoachim, P, Mortensen, K, Brethauer, D, Smartt, SJ, Kasliwal, MM, Alexander, KD, Anand, S, Berger, E, Bernardini, MG, Bianco, FB, Blanchard, PK, Bloom, JS, Brocato, E, Bulla, M, Cartier, R, Cenko, SB, Chornock, R, Copperwheat, CM, Corsi, A, D'Ammando, F, D'Avanzo, P, Hélène Datrier, LÉ, Foley, RJ, Ghirlanda, G, Goobar, A, Grindlay, J, Hajela, A, Holz, DE, Karambelkar, V, Kool, EC, Lamb, GP, Laskar, T, Levan, A, Maguire, K, May, M, Melandri, A, Milisavljevic, D, Miller, AA, Nicholl, M, Nissanke, SM, Palmese, A, Piranomonte, S, Rest, A, Sagués-Carracedo, A, Siellez, K, Singer, LP, Smith, M, Steeghs, D & Tanvir, N 2022, 'Target-of-opportunity Observations of Gravitational-wave Events with Vera C. Rubin Observatory', The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, vol. 260, no. 1, 18. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4365/ac617c

Alexander, KD, Schroeder, G, Paterson, K, Fong, W, Cowperthwaite, P, Gomez, S, Margalit, B, Margutti, R, Berger, E, Blanchard, P, Chornock, R, Eftekhari, T, Laskar, T, Metzger, BD, Nicholl, M, Villar, VA & Williams, PKG 2021, 'A late-time galaxy-targeted search for the radio counterpart of GW190814', The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 923, no. 1, 66. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ac281a

Cannizzaro, G, Wevers, T, Jonker, PG, Pérez-Torres, MA, Moldon, J, Mata-Sánchez, D, Leloudas, G, Pasham, DR, Mattila, S, Arcavi, I, French, KD, Onori, F, Inserra, C, Nicholl, M, Gromadzki, M, Chen, T-W, Müller-Bravo, TE, Short, P, Anderson, JP, Young, DR, Gendreau, KC, Arzoumanian, Z, Löwenstein, M, Remillard, R, Roy, R & Hiramatsu, D 2021, 'Accretion disc cooling and narrow absorption lines in the tidal disruption event AT 2019dsg', Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 504, no. 1, pp. 792–815. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stab851

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