| my page with useful links
I grew up in Haarlem (The Netherlands) and obtained my MSc (1988) and
PhD (1993) at the
University of Amsterdam.
In the next years (1994-1996), I broadened
my horizons as a Hubble Fellow at
and, a bit briefly (1997 to mid-1998), as a postdoc at
After that, I was first junior and then senior lecturer/researcher at
I moved to
UofT in 2003, joining a
wonderful department, university, city, and country. In 2013, I was
fellowship to help make progress in my research on
white dwarfs and thermonuclear supernovae (although I used the
time in part to start on a new venture, “scintillometry”).
Short CV (A4)
and list of publications (A4);
I am interested generally in compact objects, stars and binaries,
their structure, formation and evolution, and their use to infer
fundamental physical properties. My research is based on
observations, but includes interpretation, theory and numerical
modelling as required. I generally try to make progress using key
observations and/or physical considerations of individual, carefully
selected objects. Specifically, I am trying to use neutron stars to
study high-density and high field-strength physics, in conditions out
of reach of terrestrial experiment (and theory, as yet), and to solve
associated astronomical puzzles. I am also looking at the origin of
SN Ia explosions, hoping to confirm our suggestion that these are due
to white-dwarf mergers, even for sub-Chandrasekhar mass. For brief
descriptions, see the part about research
endeavours from my
Favourite recent publications:
- Main, R., van Kerkwijk, M.H., Pen, U.-L., Mahajan, N., Vanderlinde,
K., 2017, Descattering of Giant Pulses in PSR B1957+20,
- Antoniadis, J., et al., 2013, A massive pulsar in a compact
- Van Kerkwijk, M.H., Breton, R., Kulkarni, S.R., 2011, Evidence for
a massive neutron star from a radial-velocity study of the companion
to the black widow pulsar PSR
- Van Kerkwijk, M.H., Chang, P., Justham, S., 2010,
Sub-Chandrasekhar White Dwarf Mergers as the Progenitors of Type
Ia Supernovae, ApJ 722, L157
- Van Kerkwijk, M.H., Rappaport, S.A., Breton, R.P., Justham, S.,
Podsiadlowski, P., Han, Z., 2010, Observations of Doppler boosting
in Kepler light curves,
ApJ 715, 51
My joy in science is greatly enhanced when I am collaborating with one
or two others, and/or while supervising undergraduate and graduate
students (I am always interested in discussing possible projects, be it for
or PhD theses).
My collaborators are easily identified via ADS.
Current students and postdocs are:
Former students and postdocs:
- Kelly Lepo (PhD student since 2009): SN Ia progenitors in the
- Chenchong Zhu
(PhD student since 2012, following a short project): white dwarf
- Eric Blais (short project): Type Ia Supernovae and white dwarf binaries.
In the 2012/13 academic year, apart from being undergraduate chair, I
Previous courses I have taught at UofT:
- Wolfgang Kerzendorf
(postdoc from 2011 to 2014, now PDF at ESO): SN Ia progenitors.
Breton (postdoc from 2008 to 2011, now faculty in Manchester):
Modeling of (pulsar) binary lightcurves and spectra, including Doppler
papers), a massive pulsar
728, 95) and new black-widow type binaries
Jayawardhana and me from 2007 to 2009, now faculty at UdeM):
multiplicity of young stars
683, 844); exo-planet detection
- Kaya Mori (postdoc 2006/07, now associate research scientist at Columbia):
Spectral and rotational changes in the isolated neutron star
- Alexis Brandeker
Jayawardhana and me from 2004 to 2007, now faculty in
Stockholm): multiplicity of young stars
Orosz (postdoc with me in Utrecht, now associate professor at SDSU):
Our most fun result was The eclipsing millisecond
pulsar PSR J1740-5340 and its red straggler companion
(A&A 397, 237).
- Duy Nguyen,
PhD 2010 (after a PDF at U. Florida, now PDF at Rochester):
Probing Star Formation with High Resolution Spectroscopy
in thesis; joint
Durant, PhD 2006 (now PDF at U. Florida, after a stint
at IAC): Magnetars: distances, variability and
- Ferdi Hulleman, PhD 2003, Utrecht:
Anomalous X-ray pulsars at visible and infrared wavelengths
(papers in thesis).
Kotak, PhD 2002, Lund (after stints at Imperial College and
ESO, now lecturer at Queens University, Belfast):
Inside pulsating white dwarfs: Clues from time-resolved spectroscopy
(papers in thesis).
Bassa, PhD 2006, Utrecht (main supervisor
Frank Verbunt; now
PDF at Jodrell, after stints at McGill and SRON+RU): Optical
studies of compact binaries in globular clusters and the Galactic disk
papers since MSc)
- Heidi White (short project, now pursuing PhD with
Shelley Wright): Former
Companions in LMC/SMC Supernova remnants.
Radigan (short project, now PDF at STScI): the mass of the
white dwarf in U Sco.
- Alana Rivera Ingraham (short project): Extinction and distance
to anomalous X-ray pulsars from X-ray scattering halos
- Erin Mentuch
(2004/05 Summer research project with
Alexis Brandeker and me,
continuing with short PhD project; now PDF at
McMaster, after PhD with Bob Abraham): Lithium depletion of
young stellar associations
- Thom Janssen, MSc 2004, Utrecht (UL transaction security, via TNO [applied
The companion to the pulsar PSR B1718-19: the role of tidal
circularisation (A&A 439, 433).
Bassa, MSc 2002, Utrecht:
Temperature and cooling age of the white dwarf
companion of PSR J0218+4232
(A&A 403, 1067).
- Heidi White, BSc 2011 (co-supervised with Phil Chang, then at CITA;
now PhD student): Ignition and detonation in
white-dwarf merger remnants.
- Serguei Ossokine, BSc 2009 (now PhD student): Guitar fever
and a pulsar's speed.
- Ashleigh Ingle, BSc 2008 (now PhD student in UofT
physics): Reconstructing the Guitar: blowing bubbles with a
pulsar bow shock back flow
D'Angelo, BSc 2004 (PhD at MPA, now PDF in Amsterdam):
Contact binaries with additional components: A spectroscopic
search for faint tertiaries (with Slavek
Rucinski; AJ 132, 650)
- SCI 199Y: Astronomy at the frontier
(in 07/08, together with Yanqin Wu)
- AST 101H:
The Sun and its neighbours (taught in 03/04 and 04/05
with Bob Abraham and Barth Netterfield, in 05/06 with Ray
Jayawardhana, and in 11/12 together with Mike Reid).
- AST 201H:
Stars and galaxies (taught in 03/04 and 04/05 with Bob
Abraham and Barth Netterfield, in 05/06 with Ray Jayawardhana, and
in 08/09 with Stefan Mochnacki).
210H: Great moments in astronomy (10/11)
- AST 320H: Introduction to astrophysics
(02/03, 04/05, 05/06, 06/07, and 08/09).
- AST 424H: Introduction to Astrophysical Research (11/12)
425Y: Research topics in astronomy and astrophysics
3010S: Advanced topics in stellar astronomy:
- Mini-course: Star and planet formation (in
04/05, with a slew of others).
seminars (organiser, 11/12)
Marten van Kerkwijk / mhvk@astro ---o--- last updated: 18 March 2013