Institute of Astronomy

- Leah Bigwood


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Office: Obs O26
Office Tel: (01223) 339277
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Supervised by Professor Debora Sijacki and Dr. Alexandra Amon, I am studying baryonic feedback using both cosmological hydrodynamical simulations and observational data.  I am interested in testing whether more extreme models of AGN feedback are able to reconcile the current tension in cosmology between measurements of S8 by cosmic shear surveys and those by the Planck cosmic microwave background data.  Improved understanding of this effect will also allow future weak lensing surveys to make more powerful cosmological constraints, ultimately advancing our knowledge of the Universe's contents and expansion history.   

My current project involves modifying the AGN feedback model in the FABLE hydrosimulations, in order to test whether a model is able to produce a greater amount of non-linear suppression of the matter power spectrum, whilst still remaining consistent with obesrvations.  I am also a member of the Dark Energy Survey (DES).  I am currently performing a combined analysis of DES Y3 cosmic shear and ACT kSZ data in order to constrain baryonic feedback from an observational standpoint, and compare the choices of modelling baryonic feedback in weak lensing analyses.  

I am also involved in a project supervised by Dr. Anna-Christina Eilers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where I am measuring the black hole masses and proximity zones for a sample of 19 high redshift quasars observed with the FIRE/Magellan telescopes.  By testing for correlation between these measurements, we are providing evidence for the episodic accretion of supermassive black holes.  

I have previously been a member of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) Bright Galaxy Survey, where I also used both observational survey validation data and simulation-based mock catalogues to study the systematics affecting their future baryonic acoustic oscillation measurements.  



PhD in Astronomy: Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge (2022-present)

MPhys Physics & Astronomy: Durham University (2018-2022)

Awards and Prizes

D. A. Wright Prize for Outstanding Performance in Final Honours MPhys Physics and Astronomy (Durham University, 2022)

Level 4 Prize for Theoretical Astrophysics (Durham University, 2022)

Durham Physics Award for Outstanding Achievement (Durham University, 2020, 2021, 2022)

Page last updated: 26 June 2023 at 13:26