Scheme: University Research Fellowship
Organisation: University of Hertfordshire
Dates: Oct 2007-Sep 2010
Summary: Active galaxies are galaxies in which large amounts of material are falling on to the supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy. In normal active galaxies we observe bright emission at various wavelengths from the nucleus. In radio-loud active galaxies, in addition, twin jets of plasma emerge from close to the central black hole and travel out at speeds close to the speed of light, interacting with the intergalactic medium as they go. These jets are interesting in themselves, but also important for two other reasons: firstly, because they interact with material in the galaxy and its environment as they travel outwards, they represent a way for the conditions at the centre of galaxies to have an effect on material much further out, which is now widely believed to have an important effect on the evolution of galaxies in the universe; secondly, because as they decelerate they can give very large energies to small numbers of
particles ('particle acceleration') which is believed to account for the high-energy cosmic rays that we detect at Earth. My research covers all aspect of these systems, from their origin (the nature of the material that accretes on to the central black hole) through their environmental impact (in the past year I have worked on the interaction between
jets and the cold and warm gas that surrounds them) to the nature and location of the particle acceleration processes in the jets and elsewhere (recently I have been focussing on the acceleration of ultra high-energy cosmic rays which can be detected using ground-based telescopes). All of this work is directly relevant to key unsolved problems in astrophysics.
Dates: Oct 2002-Sep 2007
Summary: This project summary is not available for publication.