Dr Megan Argo
Megan is an astrophysicist studying galaxies, supernovae and black holes at high resolution using large networks of radio telescopes. She teaches across both the on-campus and distance learning degrees in Physics and Astronomy including introductory courses, laboratory classes, and advanced undergraduate projects. She also supervises postgraduate research projects and is a popular public speaker, giving invited public lectures around the country.
Megan teaches across several modules on the Physics and Astrophysics programmes, including running classes at Alston Observatory where the undergraduate students get first-hand experience of working with a telescope. Her research makes good use of e-MERLIN, the UK’s network of radio telescopes based at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire, to study galaxies at high resolution. She has served a Councillor of the Royal Astronomical Society (2017-2020), a member of the Isaac Newton Group Panel for the Allocation of Telescope Time (2018-), a member of the International Astronomical Union (since 2009) and served on the IAU’s Commission C2 – Communicating Astronomy with the Public (2015-2018, 2018-2021).
Megan studied for an MPhys Physics with Astrophysics at the University of Manchester, graduating with First Class Honours. She then completed a PhD in Radio Astronomy at Jodrell Bank Observatory where she studied supernovae and masers in nearby starburst galaxies. Following her PhD work she spent three years in Perth, Western Australia as a Research Fellow and Public Engagement Coordinator at the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy, followed by two years as a researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON). Returning to the UK, Megan spent a further three years at the University of Manchester continuing her research before moving to the University of Central Lancashire as a Lecturer in 2016. Over her various roles, Megan has developed material for and taught on modules from foundation year up to postgraduate level covering both physics, mathematics and astrophysics. She first taught as a laboratory demonstrator during her PhD, later writing and delivering her first lecture course in 2010. As well as teaching on the undergraduate programmes and supervising BSc and MPhys projects, Megan supervises graduate research projects in radio astronomy. She has also supervised numerous high school students working on summer research projects through the Nuffield Foundation, and hosted an Erasmus+ student working on a research project in 2016. While working at Jodrell Bank Megan gained significant experience of telescope operations including engineering testing, commissioning, scheduling of observations, data processing, archiving, quality assessment and science imaging. She was also key in helping to commission the new observing system, designing and implementing the e-MERLIN AIPS pipeline, the main data processing tool which was used to process all data from the array for six years. Megan is also an accomplished and popular public speaker, giving talks at astronomical societies and other events (both large and small) around the country each year. In 2016 and 2020 Megan delivered lectures at Astrofest in London, and she has given invited talks at the Royal Astronomical Society, Pint of Science, the Solarsphere festival, and many others. She often appears in the media commenting of astronomical news stories of the day, appearing on BBC Radio Lancashire, Sky News, BBC News, BBC Radio Scotland, among others.
- PhD Radio Astronomy, University of Manchester, 2006
- MPhys Physics with Astrophysics, University of Manchester, 2003
- Radio supernovae
- Astrophysical masers
- Starburst galaxies
- Black holes
- Green technology
- Public engagement
- Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (Councillor 2017-2020; Vice President 2020-2022)
- Member of the Institute of Physics
- Member of the International Astronomical Union