Liam Hardy

Photo of Liam Hardy 2016Lecturer in Astrophysics

Contact details

  • Room F22;
  • Phone +44 (0)114 222 3560
  • Email
  • Twitter @liamkhardy




I am a fixed-term lecturer in astrophysics. I recently completed my PhD here at the University of Sheffield and I am proud to call Sheffield my home. My research focuses on astronomical instrumentation and time-resolved astrophysics, including compact binary stars, transiting exoplanets, and transient events. I have helped commission the high-speed imaging camera ULTRASPEC on the Thai National Telescope, and the fully robotic pt5m telescope on La Palma.
I collaborate primarily with Professor Vik Dhillon, Dr Stuart Littlefair, Dr Steven Parsons, and PhD students Martin McAllister, David Sahman, Tim Rattanasoon and Martin Dyer. We also work with colleagues at Durham University and the University of Warwick.


Physics & Astrophysics MPhys (2008-2012, University of Sheffield)
Astronomy PhD (2013-2016, University of Sheffield)

Academic Career

Student Support Astronomer (2011-2012, Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes)

Departmental administration

Physics PGR committee - student representative (2015/16)


Research Interests

I have studied eclipsing cataclysmic variables (CVs), searching for new eclipsing systems and characterising those systems which are already known. CVs play an important role in binary stellar evolution, and may provide a pathway for the creation of Type Ia supernovae, which are used as a standard candle to measure the expansion of the Universe.

I have conducted extensive optical follow-up observations of a wide range of transient events, including dwarf nova outbursts, supernovae, gravitational lensing events, and gamma-ray bursts. I collaborate with the Gaia Science Alerts team, who find transient events in the data collected by the astrometric satellite Gaia. I have also searched for optical counterparts to the recently discovered fast radio bursts, whose origins are still unknown.


Undergraduate taught modules

PHY104 Introduction to Astrophysics (2016/17)
PHY320 Nuclear Astrophysics (2016/17)
Part of PHY120 Mathematics for Physicists and Astronomers (2016/17)
Part of PHY230 Experimental Physics (2016/17)
Part of PHY319 Astronomy Project (2016/17)
Tutorials for PHY101/102 - Core Physics (2016/17)


Recent key publications

"Hunting For Eclipses: High Speed Observations of Cataclysmic Variables" Hardy et al. (2017) MNRAS in press

"A radio-pulsing white dwarf binary star" Marsh et al. (2016) Nature 537, 374

"Furiously fast and red: sub-second optical flaring in V404 Cyg during the 2015 outburst peak", Gandhi et al. (2016) MNRAS 459, 554

"pt5m - a 0.5 m robotic telescope on La Palma" Hardy et al. (2015) MNRAS 454 4316

"ULTRASPEC: a high-speed imaging photometer on the 2.4-m Thai National Telescope" Dhillon et al. (2014) MNRAS 444, 4009

Public Engagement Deep Sky Videos: small contributions to YouTube channel

I have given astronomy talks and night-sky workshops to the public at the University of Sheffield, and to young people at summer camps.