Peter Boorman

Astrophysicist

Observer

Data analyst

Science communicator

 

My name is Peter Boorman, a postdoctoral researcher at the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, Czechia.

I have a broad range of research interests that mainly revolve around the process of accretion onto compact objects. I dedicate a lot of my time to the growth of supermassive black holes billions of times more massive than our Sun. These black holes reside at the centres of every large galaxy, and I want to know how they grew to the extreme masses we see today.

 

Key Science Questions

See the projects below for more information about how I'm trying to solve these questions.

  • How many supermassive black holes are eating material in our cosmic backyard?
  • Are supermassive black holes scaled-up versions of smaller black holes?
  • Do supermassive black holes grow by eating material from other galaxies, or themselves?
  • How similar are the environments close to accreting supermassive black holes?

My research

NuLANDS

The NuSTAR Local AGN NH Distribution Survey (NuLANDS) is dedicated to finding out how many galaxies in our local cosmic neighbourhood actually host actively accreting supermassive black holes. Click here to see a poster all about NuLANDS that I presented at the 2021 EAS meeting.

Black hole spins

Black holes can be described intrinsically by two parameters; mass and spin. Though multiple techniques have been identified for measuring black hole mass, only a few are currently used to infer spin. More information is coming soon about a relatively new technique for inferring spin of large samples of accreting supermassive black holes.

X-raying Green Peas

Green Pea galaxies are compact starburst dwarf galaxies approximately 5 billion light years from us. They are far too small and distant to resolve with current instruments, but X-ray detectors have found some Green Peas are approximately five times "over-luminous" in X-rays to what is expected from predictions. What could be powering such extreme X-ray emission in these sources?

AGN accretion states

Stellar mass accreting black holes are known to go through cyclic outbursts in terms of their accretion power and the fraction of that power emitted in high-energy X-rays. Could accreting supermassive black holes (~million times more massive) exhibit equivalent behaviour on much larger timescales? Click the link to learn more about the AGN states research group in Prague!

253

Citations

(peer-reviewed)

24

Papers

(peer-reviewed)

9

H-index

45

Presentations

(invited, contributed, seminars, lectures & talks)

Summary

Peter Boorman

Research Interests: Obscured accretion of supermassive black holes, Monte Carlo radiative transfer modelling, Big data analysis and machine learning methods

Education

PhD in astrophysics

2015 - 2019

Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

The Obscured Accretion and Growth of Supermassive Black Holes; Awarded the Springer Thesis prize - link here.

Integrated Masters in Physics

2011 - 2015

Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

Finished top of the year with first class honours - link here.

Professional Experience

JSPS fellow

Coming soon

Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

Postdoctoral researcher

2019 - present

Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Praha, Czechia

    Working on obscured AGN, AGN selection techniques & accretion states. Using X-ray spectroscopy, optical spectroscopy and multiwavelength photometry.

MoleGazer data analyst

2019

University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

    Funded from STFC Impact Acceleration Accounts to analyse the temporal evolution of naevi into melanoma in medical images using astronomical photometric techniques and machine learning algorithms. Click here to learn more.

Highlights

Figures

I've compiled a list of plots I've created for my research. Click the link to take a look, and if you have any questions/comments/ideas!

Springer Thesis award

I am honoured that my PhD thesis entitled The Accretion and Obscured Growth of Supermassive Black Holes was awarded a Springer Thesis prize. See more info here.

Introductory X-ray textbook published

I am proud to have contributed to the textbook; Tutorial Guide to X-ray and Gamma-ray Astronomy, which is now published and available from Springer at the link above.

Publish & Flourish: Lindau Sciathon 2020 article submitted

In just 48 hours, our international team created a series of recommendations to nourish a mutually respectful publishing process with researchers in the Lindau Sciathon event.

MoleGazer

MoleGazer aims to use artifical intelligence with astrophysical transient detection techniques to track the evolution of moles and aid the early diagnosis of melanoma. Click the link to find out more, and see a plot I made using machine learning to identify moles.

NASA press release

We used NASA's NuSTAR telescope to characterise a very local heavily obscured accreting supermassive black hole (Boorman et al., 2016; ApJ-833-245). Featured by: NASA, the Guardian, the Independent, the Daily Mail, University of Southampton.