Introducing... Dr. Kenzie!
On September 16th, 2022, ASTRON/UvA PhD candidate Kenzie Nimmo successfully defended her thesis, entitled Zooming-in on the sources of fast radio transients
at the Aula of the University of Amsterdam. The thesis was also awarded the rare distinction Cum Laude
, based on the reports from the committee and additional external referees. One of Kenzie's "paranymphs" audibly gasped when this was announced.
In her thesis, Kenzie presents several pioneering studies of fast radio bursts (FRBs), using the European VLBI Network as well as single-dish voltage data from the 100-m Effelsberg telescope. This allowed her to zoom-in in both time and space to pinpoint exactly when and where FRBs happen. She investigated the diversity of environments in which FRB sources are found (from Milky-Way-like galaxies to globular clusters), and showed that we have only just scratched the surface in terms of exploring the breadth of FRB-like signals we can detect - on timescales as short as nanoseconds, and with luminosities that span many orders of magnitude.
Kenzie is now off to MIT, where she was awarded a prestigious Kavli fellowship in astrophysics to continue her research using the CHIME/FRB telescope. CHIME/FRB is being expanded with outrigger stations, and Kenzie will apply her expertise to localise a large sample of FRBs to their host galaxies. This will transform our understanding of the phenomenon as well as enable many exciting applications in astrophysics and cosmology.