Payton Rodman

Payton Rodman

PhD Candidate in Astronomy

Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge

Biography

I am a current PhD student and Gates Cambridge Scholar at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge. My research interests include the theory of black hole accretion disks, specifically the production and amplification of magnetic fields via the dynamo process. I study these systems through a mix of theory and simulation using the magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) code Athena++.

Before moving to the UK, I studied physics and applied mathematics at the University of Tasmania in Australia, where I recieved my Bachelors (2017) and Honours (2018) degrees.

All of my research to date has been broadly focused on the topic of Active Galactic Nuclei, or AGN for short. These are supermassive black holes (SMBHs) that are located at the centre of a host galaxy and are consuming large amounts of gas and dust. This high activity causes the region around the black hole to glow brightly across all of the electromagnetic spectrum, and may sometimes also release massive jets of relativistic plasma from near the poles of the black hole itself. Hence AGN contain an SMBH, a disk or torus of accreting material, and (sometimes) jets of relativistic plasma.

In the future I plan to work towards self-consistent models and realistic simulations of AGN which include accretion disks, jets, and coronae — a true “unified theory” of AGN.

You can find a copy of my CV here: Download my CV

Interests

  • Black holes
  • Accretion disks
  • Active Galactic Nuclei
  • Magnetic dynamos

Education

  • PhD in Astronomy, expected 2023(ish)

    University of Cambridge

  • BSc (Hons) in Physics, 2018

    University of Tasmania

  • BSc in Physics and Applied Mathematics, 2017

    University of Tasmania

Projects

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Using radio lobes to measure galaxy cluster properties (Honours thesis)

A brief description of the work I did in 2018 as part of my Honours thesis at the University of Tasmania.

The spectral signature of interstellar scintillation

A project I undertook in the summer of 2016/2017 with CSIRO in Perth, WA.

Extreme scattering events

A short side-project to my work at CASS

Environment as a cause of radio source asymmetry

An analysis of AGN jet properties in different clustering environments.

Recent Publications