Dr. Paul Demorest is a scientist living in Charlottesville, Virginia. His support work includes working on the digital (FPGA-based) backends for the GBT and supporting pulsar researchers.
Paul graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2007 with a dissertation on "Measuring the Gravitational Wave Background using Precision Pulsar Timing." He then came to the NRAO as a Jansky Fellow, and joined the scientific staff in 2011.
Paul's main research focus is on observations of radio pulsars, especially the areas of data analysis and instrumentation. High-precision timing of millisecond pulsars provides a unique "laboratory" for fundamental physics and astrophysics. Pulsar timing can explore the properties of nuclear matter at densities far beyond those accessible on Earth; test general relativity and theories of gravity; and possibly directly detect gravitational radiation. Paul is heavily involved in the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) project, which aims to use an array of pulsars as a very-low-frequency (nHz) gravitational wave detector. One of his major research areas is the design of specialized instrumentation for pulsar observations, with the goal of obtaining the best possible timing precision. Paul is also exploring new methods for characterizing and compensating for the effect of the interstellar medium (ISM) on the pulsar signals. In addition to improving timing results, this research provides a unique view on the structure of the ionized ISM in our galaxy.