Another Cosmologist for Maynooth!

A few people have contacted me to ask what happened with the research position in cosmology at Maynooth University advertised a few months ago. Well, I am now in a position to provide the answer.

I’m very happy to announce that as of January 2nd 2020, Dr John Regan has joined the staff of the Department of Theoretical Physics, bringing with him an SFI – Royal Society University Research Fellowship (URF) which will fund his research for five years.

Dr John Regan

John’s primary area of research is in trying to understand the formation of black holes in the early Universe and their subsequent growth and evolution. He is interested in trying to determine how the first massive black holes in the Universe formed and the conditions required to form them. The problem is well posed since at early times the Universe was a comparatively simple place compared to the Universe today. Recent observations have indicated that Supermassive Black Holes existed less than 1 billion years after the big bang (the Universe is approximately 14 billion years old). A current open problem in Cosmology is how did black holes form and grow quickly enough in order to become super-massive so early in the Universe?

In answering this question John uses high resolution numerical simulations to study the environments in which the first massive black hole seeds may have formed and then grown to become the super-massive ones we can still observe today.

I’m delighted that John has joined the Department and look forward to many years of fruitful collaborations and discussions. He will be joined by a PDRA and a research student in due course.

You can follow John on Twitter here:

7 Responses to “Another Cosmologist for Maynooth!”

  1. Ask him for a guest post on the idea of primordial black holes as dark matter. Those unfamiliar with the idea can check out papers by Bernard Carr and co-authors, who have written on various aspects of this topic. Carr himself has been working on this for a long time. It seems that LIGO might indicate that some of the observed black-hole mergers were of primordial black holes. At the recent Texas Symposium in Portsmouth, in his concluding talk Joe Silk (who I believe has also written a paper on this topic, perhaps with Bernard) said that they might be the best bet with regard to dark matter.

    • telescoper Says:

      I sat next to Joe Silk at the dinner on Friday. We didn’t talk about PBH’s though. He was more concerned about the complexity of getting French nationality for himself and his family (his wife, who was also there, is French).

      • Isn’t his wife a judge? She should be able to give him some legal advice. 🙂 However, I believe that she works in a somewhat different field.

        As far as Joe himself is concerned, although I’m not familiar with the French legal system, it would surprise me if the facts that his wife is French and that (presumably) he has enough money to support himself would not be enough to make citizenship a mere formality, though perhaps some basic knowledge of the language and culture has to be demonstrated.

      • telescoper Says:

        Yes, she is a Judge just as he is a Silk.

  2. “Joe Silk (who I believe has also written a paper on this topic, perhaps with Bernard)”

    My memory isn’t failing me; there is indeed a paper in MNRASby those two. Silk is an author on many PBH papers (and many papers!)

    • There is a German expression, the Eierlegendewollmilchsau, the egg-laying wool milk sow, which is a sort of jack of all trades but without the “master of none” connotation. PBHs might be Eierlegendewollmilchsäue (plural form) as suggested in a paper by Carr and collaborators.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        It’s a wonderful language. I remember that the electron velocity distribution function is die elektronengeschwindigkeitsverteilingsfunktion which comprises the four English words individually translated and then concatenated.

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