Rob Fender

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Rob Fender

Head of Astrophysics


I am currently head of the Astrophysics sub-department within the broader Physics department, at the University of Oxford.

My particular research interests are in the areas of accretion and feedback around relativistic objects, mostly advanced via observations with radio telescopes such as AMI-LA, e-MERLIN and MeerKAT (although I dabble in many other areas).

Previously I was Professor of Physics at The University of Southampton, and prior to that Universitair Hoofddocent at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. I also hold a position as a Visiting SKA Professor at The University of Cape Town.

Amongst other highlights, I led the programme via which the UK joined the LOFAR project, was awarded in 2011 an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant, and was chair of the SKA Transients Science Working Group.

I was awarded the 2020 Herschel Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society for "investigations of outstanding merit in observational astrophysics", mainly in recognition of my work on accretion around black holes and the connection to relativistic jets.

My research group web page is here: 4 PI SKY, but it really needs a refresh!

In Hilary term I teach the first year departmental Physics course Multivariable Integrals and Vector Calculus.

I offer undergraduate research projects each year in areas related to accretion, jet formation and radio astronomy.

My research is focussed in two main areas:

- Black hole accretion: Over the past 15 years I have used simultaneous observations at a variety of frequencies (primarily using radio and X-ray telescopes) to understand the relation between the infall of matter (accretion) and outflow of kinetic energy (in winds and jets) around accreting black holes. Our work has set the basic phenomenological paradigm for the coupling between accretion disc, winds and jets, in stellar-mass black holes, and is currently being tested against intermediate-mass and supermassive black holes in other galaxies.

- Searches for radio transients: I am currently heavily involved in the first wide-field searches for radio transients with new and next-generation radio telescopes such as LOFAR, MeerKAT and, ultimately, the Square Kilometre Array. We were involved in the first electromagnetic detection of a gravitational wave source.

Full publication list from ADS

My research group web page is here: 4 PI SKY