Lucy Oswald

Dr Lucy Oswald

Subject: Physics

Department: Physics

Academic position: Fellowship by Examination

Research interests:

Lucy’s research is focused on the radio emission from pulsars: its origins and the observational effects of its propagation through the Galaxy. She is particularly interested in both the polarization properties of pulsar radio emission and the shapes of pulse profiles, and how these vary across both frequency and time. Studying this variability reveals information about the origins and structure of the pulsar radio beam, in addition to the structures of the Interstellar Medium that exist between pulsars and the Earth. This is useful, not only for a deeper understanding of pulsars themselves, but because this understanding will improve our ability to use pulsars as tools: to probe the structure of the Galaxy, test Einstein’s theory of General Relativity and search for gravitational waves.

As a member of the MeerTime collaboration Lucy has modelled the frequency-dependent scattering properties of a large survey of pulsars, to investigate the structure and distribution of scattering material in the Interstellar Medium. See here for a paper on the scattering properties of 84 pulsars observed with the MeerKAT L-band receiver, and here for the published scattering analysis software developed alongside this work. She is using the unprecedented bandwidth of the Parkes Ultra-Wideband receiver (more details here) to study the polarization properties of a large number of pulsars. Click here for a paper on her methodology for aligning and visualizing broadband polarimetric observations with a detailed understanding of the effects of the ISM. Information about the structure of the pulsar beam can also be obtained by studying the frequency-dependent behaviour of single pulses. Her work comparing pulsar beam models through statistical single pulse analysis of PSR J1136+1551 can be found here.

For a full list of Lucy’s current publications click here.


Before coming to Magdalen, Lucy completed a DPhil in Astrophysics at Hertford College, University of Oxford. Her thesis, entitled “Understanding radio pulsars using modern broad-band instruments”, discusses the role of new radio telescope technology in progressing our understanding of pulsar radio emission and the effects of the Interstellar Medium on pulsar observations.

Prior to the DPhil, Lucy completed a BA and MSci in Natural Sciences at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, graduating in 2017. Her Masters project focused on investigating new eclipsing binaries from the NGTS survey. Other past research has been focused on statistical approaches to data analysis, encompassing gravitational lensing and radiation testing data.

Lucy joined Magdalen College as Fellow by Examination in Physics in August 2021.