I hail from the northern land of Belfast but moved down here to Dublin when I was 8 years old and have considered myself a Dubliner ever since. Long story short, I graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2014 with a B.A. in Physics and Astrophysics. In September 2014, after a brief hiatus from studying and life's responsibilities, I began working with the Astrophysics Research Group here, studying for a PhD in Solar Physics with a focus on space weather forecasting. My hobbies include science, science and more science but when that's not taking up my time I do enjoy going to gigs, video games, reading all things and baking.
The main aim of my PhD is to study the magnetic characteristics of sunspot groups and the role they play in producing adverse space weather. Adverse space weather refers to the conditions in the near-Earth space environment that are hazardous to technology and human life. Solar flares are one of these phenomena and are therefore of utmost importance in space weather forecasting. The energy that powers flaring is known to come from magnetic energy stored in sunspot groups, but the precise conditions required and processes involved in energy release remain unclear. The first stage of my PhD research will therefore involve analysing data from the SWPC (Space Weather Prediction Centre) archives in order to develop a greater understanding of how the magnetic characteristics of sunspot groups and their evolution lead to the production of solar flares.