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Oli Boersma successfully defends thesis

Submitter: Joeri van Leeuwen
Description: On Thursday November 23 Oli Boersma successfully defended his thesis at the Agnietenkapel in Amsterdam. The thesis is an impressive combination of observational, theoretical and methodological results. In our NWO Vici project "ARGO", Oli led a search for the radio counterpart to the gravitational-wave (GW) source GW190425 using Apertif. In that event, two neutron stars merged! Unfortunately the localisation region on the sky was too large; no other telescope found a radio counterpart, either. In the thesis, Oli did convincingly show that Apertif had the sensitivity and field of view to detect afterglows in later LIGO/Virgo runs. Of course a few of the learned opponents in the committee had pointed questions about this analysis; Oli handled these very well. Other topics in the thesis were a highly cited investigation of the so-called gravitational-wave memory effect, and a chapter on detectability and study of gravitational-wave and radio emission from black hole-neutron star mergers (including forecasts for the SKA). Emission from such mergers can show up as Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) and in the final two chapters Oli pioneered machine learning analysis of GRB studies. The resulting software package, DeepGlow, is open to use, give it a try. The committee was convinced, and granted the doctorate! Congratulations, Dr Oli Boersma.
Copyright: OB/JVL
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