Using powerful lasers to explore the universe and develop technologies useful to our world.
My research interests are wide-ranging and cover theoretical and computational high energy density physics, plasma and high-power laser physics, as well as many areas of computer science, particularly involving machine learning.
Day-to-day, I carry out massive-scale supercomputer simulations of how dense matter responds when it is illuminated by powerful laser light. This is challenging and interesting because often extreme plasma states are created in such interactions, having temperatures exceeding 10 million degrees Celsius and pressures exceeding one billion Earth atmospheres. By harnessing these high energy density conditions, one may unlock new cancer therapies and possible energy sources based on fusion, as well as carry out studies of fundamental high-field physics.
Currently, I am particularly interested in applications involving quantum effects in laser-created plasmas, laboratory astrophysics, inertial confinement fusion and its fast ignitor sub-scheme, novel radiation sources, and laser-based particle accelerators. At the University of Oxford I hold a Royal Society research grant to devise new methods of harnessing the super-strong electromagnetic fields comprising high-power laser light to test aspects of the quantum vacuum in the laboratory.
Supporting these efforts, I hold concurrent appointments as a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, an Affiliated Scientist at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, a Visiting Scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and a Visiting Scientist at the Central Laser Facility. I also serve on the Executive Committee of the Jupiter Laser Facility User Group, one of the largest and most active laser communities in the world.