Tom Kimpson

I am a theoretical physicist undertaking research for my PhD within the Astrophysics Group, at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, part of University College London. My PhD advisors are Kinwah Wu and Silvia Zane

I am currently based at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics as a Visiting Graduate Fellow, where I am collaborating with Huan Yang

Prior to my PhD I worked as one of the first employees at Pace, a British start up using machine learning methods for revenue optimisation.

I have an MPhys in Physics from Durham University, where I worked with Paula Chadwick in high energy astrophysics. I also undertook undergraduate summer research in Padova, Italy with Michaela Mapelli at the very beautiful Osservatorio Astronomico

Email  /  GitHub  /  LinkedIn  /  ADS

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My primary research interests are in the multimessenger astrophysics of compact objects. In particular, I am interested and the use of these systems to explore deep questions in fundamental physics (e.g. strong-field general relativity) and astrophysics.

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Prospects for Fundamental Physics with LISA

Barausse et al., including Tom Kimpson
eprint, 2020
arxiv /

Exploring the potential of the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) for probing fundamental physics.

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Pulsar timing in extreme mass ratio binaries: a general relativistic approach

Tom Kimpson, Kinwah Wu, Silvia Zane
MNRAS, 2020
arxiv / doi /

Initial steps on computationally modelling the time-frequency signal from PSR-BH systems. Such a framework is necessary to both inform the detection of a PSR-BH system and to use these systems for tests of fundamental physics and astrophysics.

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Spatial dispersion of light rays propagating through a plasma in Kerr space-time

Tom Kimpson, Kinwah Wu, Silvia Zane
MNRAS, 2019
arxiv / doi /

How does light propagate through a plasma on a background Kerr space-time? We show that the convolution of gravitational and plasma effects gives rise to a dispersion in both space and time, and discuss implications for the detection of gravitationally bent pulsar beams near the Galactic centre

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Hierarchical black hole triples in young star clusters: impact of Kozai-Lidov resonance on mergers

Tom Kimpson, Mario Spera, Michela Mapelli, Brunetto Ziosi
MNRAS, 2016
arxiv / doi /

Mergers of compact object binaries are one of the most powerful sources of gravitational waves (GWs) in the frequency range of second-generation ground-based gravitational wave detectors. WE perform N-Body simulations of young dense star clusters (with a new code based on the Mikkola’s algorithmic regularization scheme, including the 2.5 post-Newtonian term) to explore the formation of hierarchical triples and the effects of Kozai-Lidov (KL) resonances on the merger rate, with implications for GW events


Throughout my research I have written a number of scientific codes, typically relating to time-frequency modelling and signal analysis of non-linear, dynamical astrophysical systems. In order to enable reproducible research I am attempting to make all codes associated with published papers publicly available with documentation. This endeavour is currently a work in progress!

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Spin-Curvature dynamics

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Numerical solution to the spin-orbital dynamics of an extended spinning object around a Kerr black hole.

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Pipeline to model the time-frequency signal from a pulsar orbiting a massive black hole (BH), accounting for all relativistic and astrophysical effects.


  • Fundamental Physics with MSP-BH Systems. Perimeter Institute Strong Gravity Group meeting, Canada. Jan 2019.
  • Multimessenger astrophysics of Pulsar EMRBs. 22nd International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation, Valencia. July 2019.
  • Pulsar Timing in Extreme Mass Ratio Binaries. National Astronomy Meeting, Lancaster. July 2019.
  • Fundamental physics with pulsars . GW@UCL, London. June 2019.
  • Pulsars as probes of strong-field GR. Science Possibilities Investigating Neutron Stars, London. May 2019.
  • General Relativistic Pulsar Timing . Mullard Space Science Laboratory, London. Jan 2019.
  • Spatial dispersion in the strong-field: Implications for PSR timing. INAF Cagliari, Italy. March 2018.
  • Modeling in the gravitational strong field (poster) . Computational Sciences in the 21st Century, London. June 2019.

Other useful stuff

Source code from Leonid Keselman's Jekyll version of Job Barron's page