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Tim Cunningham

I am a post-doc researcher in the Astronomy and Astrophysics group at the University of Warwick under the supervision of Pier-Emmanuel Tremblay.

Research Interests

My research primarily focuses on understanding the nature of convection, in particular convective overshoot, in white dwarf atmospheres using CO5BOLD - a 3D radiation-hydrodynamics code. Convective overshoot is a boundary effect which requires a multi-dimensional treatment to be properly characterised. It causes the mixing of material outside of the layers where convective instabilities live and this is significant for understanding the mass of material mixed by convection, a key parameter in calculations of the mass and composition of accreted material. I study this using passive scalar tracers in 3D simulations which allow us to quantify the macroscopic diffusive properties of the region beneath the convection zone.

Publications as first author

1) Cunningham, T., Tremblay, P.-E., Bauer, E. B., et al. 2021 MNRAS. Accepted.
2) Cunningham, T., Tremblay, P.-E., Gentile Fusillo, N. P., et al. 2020 MNRAS 492 3540

From hydrogen to helium: the spectral evolution of white dwarfs as evidence for convective mixing

3) Cunningham, T., Tremblay, P.-E., Freytag, B., et al. 2019 MNRAS 488 2503

Convective overshoot and macroscopic diffusion in pure-hydrogen-atmosphere white dwarfs

4) Cunningham T., Wolf W. M. & Bildsten L. 2015 ApJ 803 76

Photoionization heating of nova ejecta by the post-outburst supersoft source

Publications as co-author

3) Green, M. J., et al. 2020 MNRAS 496 1243
5) Gentile Fusillo, N. P., et al. 2019 MNRAS 482 4570
Full Lists at:

Contributed Presentations

Oct '19 IAUS 357: White Dwarfs as probes of fundamental physics and ..., Hilo, Hawaii, US - [talk]
Sept '19 CCC2019: Compressible Convection Conference 2019, Newcastle, UK - [talk]
July '19 NAM2019: National Astronomy Meeting 2019, Lancaster, UK - [talk]
July '18 EuroWD21: 21st European White Dwarf Workshop, Austin, Texas, US - [talk]
April '18 EWASS 2018: European Week of Astronomy and Space Science, Liverpool, UK - [talk]
June '17 Current Challenges in the Physics of White Dwarf Stars, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US - [poster]
July '16 EuroWD16: 20th European White Dwarf Workshop, Warwick, UK - [poster]
July '15 Seventh Meeting on Hot Subdwarfs and Related Objects, Oxford, UK - [poster]

Write to:

Tim Cunningham,
Department of Physics,
University of Warwick,
Coventry CV4 7AL

Contact details:


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