I fell in love with astronomy when I was a little boy and spent countless nights stargazing and dreaming about becoming a professional astronomer while I was growing up.
Here are a few facts about me:
- Born and raised in Quebec City, Canada
- PhD from McGill University in 2009 under the supervision of Vicky Kaspi. Here’s a link to the McGill pulsar group page.
- I was a research fellow at the University of Toronto in Marten van Kerkwijk’s group from 2008-2011.
- I was a research fellow at the University of Southampton in Rob Fender’s 4PISKY group from 2012-2013. I was also a lecturer there from 2013-2014.
- I (try) to maintain a webpage dedicated to the double pulsar.
I was awarded an €2M ERC Starting Grant in 2016, which started in March 2017. This supports my research on a project called ‘Fundamental Physics Using Black Widow, Redback and Transitional Pulsar Binaries’ until the end of 2021.
I also conduct some research in food security and run a project call Parthenium in Pakistan support by the Global Challenges Research Fund, which is aimed at tracking this invasive species on large scale in order to help control its spread. I work with scientists at an NGO called CABI.
What do I do
I’m a multi-wavelength astrophysicist but I like to think of myself as an observer/applied theorist as a lot of my work lies at the frontier between observational science and theory.
My research themes revolve around neutron stars and pulsars, transients, binary systems, tests of gravity and neutron star equation of state. I also do some digital instrumentation in the radio now.
What do I like to do
I enjoy practicing (and watching) sports in my spare time; it keeps my mind and body sane. I like a variety of them such as running, hiking, volleyball, ice hockey, football. I really got into road cycling during my years in Toronto around 2009.
Other than that, I love music (the listening bit, as I have no talent whatsoever to play), photography, geeking around with techno stuff, tea, coffee, wine, and many more thing…
Short bio (for talks, etc)
Rene Breton received his PhD in Physics from McGill University, Canada, in 2009. He is a Professor of Astrophysics at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics and the Head of Research at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Manchester. He currently holds a European Research Council Starter Grant for the study of ‘spider binary pulsars’. His main research interests revolve around the study of pulsars, which he uses to attempt to understand matter under extreme density, gravity and magnetic fields. Some of his past work enabled us to test ‘geodetic spin precession’ - a phenomenon predicted to exist in General Relativity - for the first time in the strong gravity environment. Rene also has a keen interest for science communication. He recently started applying his data analysis skills for research in the area of agriculture and trying to map the spread of invasive plants using satellite imaging.