Paul J. Groot - Homepage

Astrophysics Nijmegen

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UVEX Survey

OmegaWhite Survey


Paul Groot is professor of astronomy and head of the Department of Astrophysics of the Radboud University Nijmegen .  His areas of expertise are ultracompact binaries and transient sources, which are the strongest, known sources of gravitational waves emission.  The research is focused on discovering and characterizing these elusive systems and using them as a probe to understand fundamental physics. For this he uses wide field surveys, such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey , and the European Galactic Plane Surveys, of which he is one of the leading researchers. The European Galactic Plane Surveys consist of the IPHAS survey of the Galactic plane in H-alpha, the blue UVEX survey  (both on La Palma using the INT Wide Field Camera and the Southern VPHAS+ survey, using the ESO VST+Omegacam.

He also has an active interest in short transients in the Universe: sources that appear and disappear within a few days. Triggered by his discovery of optical afterglows to Gamma-ray bursts, he is intrigued by the question what else varies in the night at these time scales. To answer this question he is a member of the Palomar Transient Factory collaboration, of the Virgo collaboration for gravitational wave detection and he is the PI on both the MeerLICHT telescope as well as the BlackGEM array for the detection of optical counterparts to gravitational wave sources.

To enable his science Paul Groot has a keen interest in instrument development. He was Dutch Co-PI and Project Scientist on the hugely successful X-Shooter spectrograph on the VLT telescope of the European Southern Observatory, and he is the PI on both the MeerLICHT as well as the BlackGEM telescopes. He is also keenly interested in low-cost, low-weight very large aperture optical spectrographic telescopes.

Paul Groot received his PhD 'cum laude' at the University of Amsterdam in 1999, was a CfA Fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, USA, and came to Nijmegen in 2002 to start the new department of Astrophysics, together with Jan Kuijpers. In 2009 he was elected as a member of the Young Academy (Jonge Akademie) of the Royal Netherlands Academy for Sciences (KNAW). 

He is the discoverer of optical counterparts to gamma-ray bursts and is part of the LIGO-Virgo team that discovered the first gravitational waves through laser-interferometry.

Bio Timeline:

1995    MSc Astrophysics, University of Amsterdam
1997    Discovery optical afterglows Gamma-ray Bursts
1999    PhD Astrophysics (cum laude), University of Amsterdam
1999    CfA Fellowship Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
2002    Co-founder Department of Astrophysics, Radboud University
2002    VIDI award NWO
2002    EU Descartes Prize for Gamma-ray bursts
2006    Chair Department of Astrophysics, Radboud University
2006    Co-PI European Galactic Plane Surveys (IPHAS/UVEX/VPHAS+)
2006    Project Scientist X-Shooter spectrograph for ESO-VLT
2009    Member Young Academy, Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences
2011    Sabbatical California Institute of Technology
2012    Chair NOVA Netherlands Research School for Astronomy
2013    PI BlackGEM array and MeerLICHT telescope
2015    Direct detection gravitational waves (GW150914)
2016    Breakthrough Prize 'Gravitational waves'




Paul Groot
Department of Astrophysics
Radboud University Nijmegen                                                                                                                                                  
P.O. Box 9010
NL-6500 GL Nijmegen@paulgroot twitter
The Netherlands
pgroot 'at' astro.ru.nl