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Selina Mather

The RSE is supporting personal and professional development for undergraduate astronomy students.


Congratulations to this year’s cohort of undergraduate astronomy students who were awarded the RSE Cormack Undergraduate Vacation Scholarships 2021.

Three exceptional undergraduate astronomy students took part in research at a Scottish Higher Education Institution over the summer holidays. The scholarships provide research opportunities, support skills development, increase knowledge, and expand networks.

Among the three students was our own Selina Mather;

Selina Mather, University of Durham Scholarship institution University of Edinburgh Project: Revealing the properties of radio AGN at ‘Cosmic high noon’

An active galactic nucleus (AGN) is the extremely luminous centre of a galaxy where there is lurking a supermassive black hole (SMBH) onto which a large amount of gas is accumulating – a process known as accretion. Carrying out a complete census of the AGN population in the universe, correctly classifying their behaviour into different types, is critical to understanding the links between AGN accretion and how galaxies form. Selina used new observational data from radio telescopes, combined with x-ray data which had not previously been explored, to study the x-ray properties of a large sample of radio-selected AGN. She investigated how different methods for selecting the AGN compared within her sample, and how the rates of accretion onto the SMBH depended on various other physical properties of the AGN - such as redshift, stellar mass and star-formation rate. An unexpected distribution of quasar-mode AGNs was observed, which could hint at a link between radio-jet activity and suppressing the amount of stars being formed.

Selina is currently on her exchange year at the University of British Columbia, Canada. She plans on doing a PhD after her studies to pursue an international career in research.

Find out more info from the RSE