Dr Dan Mortimer
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Telephone: 01392 724124
Extension: (Streatham) 4124Overview
My research focuses on the development of instrumentation for optical interferometers, in particular the science instruments or beam combiners. As part of Professor Stefan Kraus’s group, I’m helping to bring BIFROST to the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) in Chile. BIFROST will combine short infrared wavelengths (astronomical J band) and high spectral resolution with the incredible spatial resolution of optical interferometry to advance our understanding of star and planet formation.I also have a leading role in developing the FOURIER beam combiner for the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer in New Mexico which aims to push the sensitivity limits of current generation optical interferometers by several magnitudes, unlocking new targets which were previously too faint to observe.
In addition to my work in instrumentation, I’m involved in trying to understand star formation by analysing data from optical interferometers such as CHARA/MIRC-X.
Employment and Education
- January 2022 – Present: Postdoctoral research fellow (University of Exeter)
- September 2017 – December 2021: PhD Physics (University of Cambridge)
- September 2013 – July 2017: MPhys, BSc Physics with Astrophysics (University of Leeds)
- December 2020: Best Student Paper, (SPIE Optical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging)
- February 2019: Georges Lemaître Award for Outstanding Student Presentation, (St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge)
Giving people the opportunity to interact with research and researchers is crucial for inspiring the next generation of physicists. I know this is important as without the IAYC (which I first attended in 2012) I probably wouldn’t be a researcher today.
I’m currently serving as president of the International Workshop for Astronomy (IWA) which organises the annual International Astronomical Youth Camp (IAYC). The IAYC is a three week-long summer camp which gives students the chance to carry out their own mini research project with like-minded scientists.In recent years we’ve had a strong focus on reaching those who don’t normally have the chance to attend events such as the IAYC through scholarships and grant programs as well as studying how we can improve the diversity at the IAYC.