Lilian Garratt-Smithson

photoPhD student in Physics and Astronomy

MPhys Physics (Hons),

Tel: 0116 252 2084


Office: BUI, Physics Underpass, Physics and Astronomy

Office hours: 9am - 5pm


I am a 3rd year PhD student, working in the Theoretical Astrophysics group at the University of Leicester. My supervisor is Professor Graham Wynn and my research is focussed on using computational methods to investigate the important processes during galaxy evolution. Originally from Kent, I completed my masters here in Leicester, where my dissertation was on 'Gravitational Collapse in One Dimension' and supervised by Professor Walter Dehnen.

Research interests

My PhD is focussed on feedback from High Mass X-ray Binaries (HMXBs). These are systems containing either a stellar mass black hole or a neutron star with a massive (over 8 times the mass of our sun) stellar companion. The stellar mass black holes within a HMXB can form jets consisting of ionised matter accelerated to relativistic velocities. These jets are powered by wind-fed accretion and have the capacity to heat the surrounding interstellar medium across the lifetime to the companion star. Typically, this will last around 10 million years, in which time the HMXB could have injected ten times the energy of 1 supernova into the ISM. This gradual heating can result in all sorts of interesting environmental effects.

My first paper is focussed on the interplay between HMXB feedback and SNe feedback in molecular clouds. We find the gradual 'warming' of the ISM from HMXBs can lead to the formation of 'chimneys', which funnel hot gas from the centre of the molecular clouds and prevent it from disrupting cold star-forming gas in these inner regions. My second paper investigates the effect of a HMXB population on isolated dwarf galaxies, where the HMXBs have the capacity to alter the star-formation histories of these smaller galaxies. We use lower mass galaxies due to their lower binding energies and the fact they contain fewer stars, which represents a more stochastic sampling of the underlying IMF (initial mas function). In other words, one dwarf galaxy may contain a handful of HMXBs and another may contain just one. This could have big implications on the ability of the galaxy to undergo multiple starbursts or just a single isolated period of star formation.


Academic Year: 2016/2017

  • 3220 and 3210 - Seminar Leader
  • 1110, 1120, 1130 and 1140 - Seminar Leader
  • 2nd Year Core Lab - Laboratory Demonstrator
  • 2nd Year C Programming Workshop - Teaching Assistant
Contact Details

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

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University of Leicester,
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