Thomas Kupfer

About me

I am an assistant professor and member of the BlackGEM collaboration at Texas Tech University, studying the late stages of stellar evolution and the population of gravitational wave sources in the LISA band, including hot subdwarf binaries, white dwarfs and AM CVn type binaries. Before I moved to Texas Tech I was, for a total of 5 years, a postodoctoral scholar at the Kavli Insitute for Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara and the California Institute of Technology and former member of the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) collaboration. During my time at KITP and Caltech I was calibration scientist for the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), where I was responsible for the quality assurance of the survey. I was communication coordinator and lead of the Galatic Plane science working group for ZTF. I am also scientific lead of a high-cadence survey in the Galactic Plane covering the full inner Plane visible from the Northern hemisphere as part of ZTF. I am an active member in the LISA consortium. I was former chair of the early career (LECS) working group and are member of the Multi-messenger working group where I lead the work on Galactic binaries.

My enthusiasm in astronomy started already very early in my study. Already as a 2nd year undergraduate student I joined the group of Prof. Dr. Ulrich Heber at the Remeis observatory in Bamberg. As ERASMUS student I spent 3 months at Armagh observatory, Northern Ireland to work on an abundance analysis of extreme helium stars which I continued as Diploma thesis. In May 2011 I started my doctorate at the Department of Astrophysics at the Radboud University Nijmegen on ultracompact AMCVn type binaries supervised by Prof. Dr. Paul Groot which I finished successfully in July 2015.

Before I decdided to study physics I worked three years as industrial mechanic at a mechanical engineering company in Germany.

Aside from research, teaching, and outreach, I enjoy playing and refereeing soccer, volunteering for the American Red Cross, watching American Football and hanging out with our foster cats.