William pursues his master’s degree under the supervision of Professor René Doyon and researcher Loïc Albert, where he works on characterizing the physical properties of a brown dwarf. These are substellar objects that are more massive than giants gas planets, but less massive than any star. Most of the time, they are discovered as isolated field objects, which allows only their light output to be measured. Other physical parameters like mass, radius, temperature, and age must often be inferred using atmospheric and evolutionary models. William’s project uses data from the Hubble, Kepler and Spitzer telescopes to study a brown dwarf orbiting in a M-dwarf binary system. This sort of system allows for direct measurement of most physical parameters, which can then be used to test the correctness of current brown dwarf model predictions.
During his master’s, William also collaborated with Honeywell engineer Neil Rowlands. The internship consisted of simulating observations from the FGS instrument aboard the James Webb Space Telescope, with the goal being to determine the cause of unexpected variations in the reported flux of one of the FGS guiders. Before his master’s, William completed a bachelor’s degree in physics and computer Science at McGill University. He was also a summer intern for iREx during the summer of 2020, working under Loïc Albert and René Doyon on the NIRISS-SOSS extraction pipeline.