About Me

I am a first year PhD candidate in Astronomy and Instrumentation at Leiden University. With Prof. Ignas Snellen and Dr. Frans Snik, I work on the Dutch work package for the HARPS3 instrument, to be commissioned on the INT in La Palma. My work relates to the design and construction of the Cassegrain Adaptor Unit, including the optical design, mechanical specifications, and software needed to meet the requirements of HARPS3. Along with this, I work on the bRing and MASCARA instruments, observing tens of thousands of stars in the northern and southern hemisphere between the visual magnitudes of 4 and 8, analyzing photometry for transit events and collaborating for radial velocity data on exoplanet candidates.


I was born and grew up in Toronto, Canada, obtaining my High School diploma from De La Salle "Oaklands" and my BSc Honours from the University of Toronto, with a Specialization in Physics and a Major in Astronomy. During my bachelor's, I worked on two separate projects. My bachelor's thesis was done under the supervision of Professor Shelley Wright for the first near-infrared SETI instrument, commissioned in March 2015. My second project was done with Professor Keith Vanderlinde, and was on making anti-reflection lenslets for the SPT-3G instrument. At Leiden University for my Master's degree, I worked with Prof. Matthew Kenworthy on building an instrument called bRing to observe the Hill sphere transit of β Pictoris b. I still work with bRing in conjunction with MASCARA to search for exoplanet transits of bright stars.


Outside of science, my hobbies include tabletop RPGs, reading sci-fi and fantasy novels, and camping. For tabletop RPGs, I am currently involved in two campaigns, one as a player and one as the Dungeon Master. My favourite authors to read are Isaac Asimov and Brandon Sanderson. I am currently reading the Dark Tower series by Stephen King.

    Awards
  • Awarded a Summer Undergraduate Research Project from the University of Toronto in 2014

Experience

Sept-2017 - Present

PhD - The Cassegrain Adaptor Unit of HARPS3 and MASCARA">

UUnder the supervision of Professor Ignas Snellen and Dr. Frans Snik, I am designing and building the HARPS3 Cassegrain Adaptor Unit with the NOVA team at Dwingeloo. I am working on simulations for the tip/tilt loop as well as designing tests to ensure that we will meet the requirements specified for HARPS3. In addition, I am learning MASCARA software to keep the two stations running, and analyzing data taken by the MASCARA and bRing stations to search for exoplanets around bright stars.

Aug-2016 - Aug-2017

MSc Thesis Project - bRING, an Optical Instrument to Observe β Pictoris b Exorings

Under the supervision of Professor Matthew Kenworthy, I built an instrument now commissioned in Sutherland, South Africa. This instrument, named bRING, is suited to observe the star β Pictoris during a time when the Hill sphere of β Pictoris b transits in 2017. We hope that we will observe a giant exoring system similar to that of J1407b.

Sept-2015 - Aug-2016

MSc Minor Project - Searching for l-C3H+ in a C3H4 Plasma Using High Resolution Infrared Spectroscopy

Under the supervision of Professor Harold Linnartz. For this project, I used data taken by the Supersonic Plasma InfraRed Absorption Spectrometer (SPIRAS) instrument to search for l-C3H+, a simple molecule that is believe to be a common reactant to form larger hydrocarbons. Though a large number of individual transitions were observed, none could be unambiguously assigned to l-C3H+.

Summers of 2015 and 2016

Teaching Assistant for the Dunlap Summer School for Astronomical Instrumentation

Helped prepare, test, and assist for the Long Wavelength Radio Lab for the Dunlap Summer School. More information on the Dunlap Summer School can be found on the Dunlap page .

May-2015 - September-2015

University of Toronto Undergraduate Research

Under the supervision of Professor Keith Vanderlinde, I attempted to creat anti-reflection lenslets for the SPT-3G instrument. Using a press mould system, I created a triple-layer lenslet out of various epoxy compounds which cut reflection. Unfortunately, the moulds were unable to match the micron-level precision needed for SPT-3G.

May-2014 - May-2015

Bachelor Thesis Project - The First Near Infrared SETI Instrument

Under the supervision of Professor Shelley Wright, I built a Graphical User Interface (GUI) for the first Near-Infrared SETI instrument (NIROSETI) using Matlab. I also built a heat sink for the optical guider camera to disperse heat without affecting the sensitive Avalanche Photo-diodes. I assisted during the commissioning of NIROSETI in March 2015 on the Nickel telescope located at Lick Observatory, California.

Education

PhD - 2017 - Present

Leiden University

HARPS3 and MASCARA Instrumentation and Science with Prof. Ignas Snellen and Dr. Frans Snik.

Master's - 2015 - 2017

Leiden University

Astronomy and Instrumentation. Master's thesis done under the supervision of Professor Matthew Kenworthy.

Honour's Bachelor's - 2011 - 2015

University of Toronto

Specialist Physics and Major in Astronomy. Bachelor's thesis done under the supervision of Professor Shelley Wright

Skills

Languages and Software: Python, Matlab, LaTeX, Sprutcam, Solidworks, Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, ActiveX, G-code, PGopher
Operating Systems: Windows and Linux
Machining: CNC milling, Lathe, Drill Press, Band Saw
Electronics: Soldering, Crimping, Cable Routing


Publications

  • R. Stuik, J.I. Bailey III, P. Dorval, G.J.J. Talens, I. Laginja, S.N. Mellon, B.B.D. Lomberg, S.M. Crawford, M.J. Ireland, E.E. Mamajek, M.A. Kenworthy. bRing: An observatory dedicated to monitoring the β Pictoris b Hill sphere transit. In Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics, September 2017
  • J. Maire, S.A. Wright, P. Dorval, F. Drake, A. Duenas, H. Isaacson, G.W. Marcy, A. Siemion, R.P.S. Stone, M. Tallis, R.R. Treffers, D. Werthimer. A near-infrared SETI experiment: commissioning, data analysis, and performance results. In Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) Conference Series, volume 9908, August 2016
  • S.A. Wright, D. Wethimer, R.R. Treffers, J. Maire, G.W. Marcy, R.P.S. Stone, F. Drake, E. Meyer, P. Dorval, and A. Siemion. A near-infrared SETI experiment: instrument overview. In Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) Conference Series, volume 9147, July 2014