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Klaas Wiersema

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Astronomy and Astrophysics group at the University of Warwick.


I am Dutch, and grew up in Alkmaar. I did my undergrad and masters' degrees (astronomy and theoretical physics) at the University of Amsterdam. I obtained my PhD in astronomy at the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API) of the University of Amsterdam, in 2007. After that I moved to the UK, from 2007 to 2017 I worked at the University of Leicester, as postdoctoral researcher in the group of prof. Tanvir. I joined the University of Warwick in 2017.

Research interests

My research interests are focused on the observational study of gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglows and their host galaxies. I am particularly interested in using GRB afterglows as a tool to understand the evolution of faint starforming dwarf galaxies in the distant universe; and in using polarimetry, together with multi-wavelength lightcurves, to understand the physics behind GRB afterglows. Additionally, I have some involvement in studies of tidal disruption events, X-ray binaries and ultra-luminous X-ray sources as "local" analogues of (elements of) GRB physics. In recent years I have become interested in the electromagnetic counterparts of gravitational-wave sources.

Observationally, my main interests are in optical and infrared techniques, particularly imaging polarimetry and (echelle) spectroscopy, using telescopes at La Palma, Hawaii and particularly the many ESO telescopes in Chile. I also keep a close eye on developments in radio wavelengths, and am interested in multi-wavelength tests of the physics of transient sources.

Service to the community

I serve on time allocation committees and am a frequent reviewer for grant proposals for several different funding councils in several countries, and for observing time proposals at facilities ranging from low-frequency radio to high-energy gamma-rays.
I am a believer in collaborative, open, research collaborations, and advocate for open-source code and open access publications.


My full publication list can be found here (ADS query).

Teaching and outreach

I have given many talks, lectures and demonstrations on a variety of subjects for various audiences, from schools to astronomy societies, in both Dutch and English. I have written several articles for popular astronomy magazines, and have participated and set up "pro-am" collaborations. I am particularly interested in working with amateur astronomers with relatively advanced equipment (telescopes with CCD cameras) to obtain exciting scientific data on transient sources (e.g. GRBs).

I have supervised a large number of highschool, undergrad and postgrad student projects and would like to encourage students interested in applying for a PhD (or postdoc) position in the Netherlands to come and have a chat.


Write to:

Klaas Wiersema
Department of Physics,
University of Warwick,
Coventry CV4 7AL

Contact details: