Research interests

My main research interest is the structure of disc galaxies. What makes those grand spiral arms we see in the galaxies in our night sky? Why are some barred and not all? What is the lifetime of such features? Can they be formed in isolation, or is a companion needed to induce some features? And how do these various arm and bar features impact on the gas in the galaxy?

Of special interest to me is the shape of our own galaxy; the Milky Way. Rather embarrassingly, we know less about the shape of the Milky Way than other galaxies due to the Earth's position inside the Milky Way. This makes building a map of the Milky Way, and thus understanding it's structure, somewhat more complicated.

To shed some light on these questions I perform numerical simulations using a variety of hydrodynamical and N-body codes, simulating the gas, stellar and dark matter components. The results of which can then be compared to observed galaxy quantities to better understand the physics behind their design.

About me

I am currently a joint research-teaching staff at Hokkaido University in the city of Sapporo (Hokkaido, Japan), with my work focusing on galactic morphology. I gained my undergraduate degree at Durham University under the supervision of Vincent Eke on the topic of the existence of water on the lunar surface. I gained PhD at the University of Exeter where I worked on the problem of building a map of the Milky Way (see here). I then worked as a postdoc with Elizabeth Tasker on the topic of tidal encounters between galaxies and small companions.

When not spinning galaxies I enjoy exploring a bit more of beautiful Japan. In my spare time I enjoy a bit of bouldering, going to the gym, and a good run, though Sapporo winters don't make that last one very easy. Like many astrophysicists I'm a bit of a sci-fi fan, and am yet to really grow out of graphic novels and video games!

A list of my publications can be found here, and my entry on Japan's ResearchMap database has plenty of information about my research.


News archive here if you are so inclined! I also have a twitter where I chirp on occasion @arptttt.

Collaborators webpages

James Wadsley, McMaster University, Canada
Elizabeth Tasker, ISAS, JAXA, Tokyo Japan
Clare Dobbs, University of Exeter, U.K.
Fumi Egusa, University of Tokyo, Japan
Daniel Price, Monash University, Australia
David Acreman, University of Exeter, U.K.