Dr. Klaas Wiersema

Postdoctoral researcher

MSc Astronomy and Theoretical Physics (University of Amsterdam),
PhD (University of Amsterdam)

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2377

Email: kw113@le.ac.uk

Office: Room G17, Physics & Astronomy building

Office hours: Feel free to drop in anytime.


Klaas is Dutch, and did his undergrad and masters degrees at the University of Amsterdam. He obtained his PhD in astronomy at the Astronomical Institute "Anton Pannekoek" of the University of Amsterdam, in september 2007. From november 2007 he works at the University of Leicester as postdoctoral researcher, using optical telescopes to understand the physics of gamma-ray bursts.

Research interests

My research interests are focused on the observational study of gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglows and their host galaxies. I am particularly interested in using GRB afterglows as a tool to understand the evolution of faint starforming dwarf galaxies in the distant universe; and in using polarimetry, together with multi-wavelength lightcurves, to understand the physics of GRB afterglows. Additionally, I have some involvement in studies of tidal disruption events, X-ray binaries and ultra-luminous X-ray sources as "local" analogues of elements of GRB physics.

Observationally, my main interests are in optical and infrared techniques, particularly imaging polarimetry and (echelle) spectroscopy, using telescopes at La Palma, Hawaii and particularly the ESO telescopes in Chile. I also keep a close eye on developments in radio wavelengths, and the promise of detection of gravitational waves of GRBs by advanced detectors.


  • SURE projects
  • shared supervision of PhD student projects
  • TA for various physics, maths and astronomy courses at the University of Amsterdam (2001-2007)
  • one-to-one research projects for undergrad and highschool students (1997 - 2007).


I would like to encourage students interested in applying for a PhD or postdoc position in the Netherlands to come and have a chat.


Science Communication

I have given many talks, lectures and demonstrations on various subjects for various audiences, from schools to astronomy societies, in both Dutch and English. I have written several articles for popular astronomy magazines, and have participated and set up "pro-am" collaborations. I am particularly interested in working with amateur astronomers with relatively advanced equipment (telescopes with CCD cameras) to obtain exciting scientific data on transient sources (e.g. GRBs).

Selected Publications

  • My full publication list can be found on ADS.

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Contact Details

Tel.: +44 (0)116 252 3506
Fax: +44 (0)116 252 2770

Department of Physics & Astronomy,
University of Leicester,
University Road,
Leicester, LE1 7RH,
United Kingdom.


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