Research Assistant Professor
Research Assistant Professor
BA, Colgate University; MS, Ph.D., Cornell University
Dr. Lam is an astrophysicist in the School of Physics and Astronomy. He is a member of the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves, whose goal is to detect and characterize low-frequency gravitational waves coming from a variety of sources such as supermassive black hole binaries at the centers of merging galaxies. He works heavily in the Noise Budget Working Group, whose task is to characterize noise sources in the pulsar timing array detector, optimize the sensitivity of that detector, and correct/mitigate the various sources of noise. One large component of this work is the study of the ionized interstellar medium and as such he also uses the pulsars as tools to study a wide range of small- and large-scale phenomena in the Galactic electron content. He has recently extended this work on the interstellar medium to using Fast Radio Bursts as probes of the intergalactic medium. He also works on pulsar timing observations, gravitational wave detection methods, and cyber-infrastructure development for the collaboration. In addition, he is a heavy contributor to education and public outreach efforts and has recently rotated off as a member of NANOGrav's Equity and Climate Committee.
Lam, M. T. and Hazboun, J. S., 2021, “Precision Timing of PSR J0437−4715 with the IAR Observatory and Implications for Low-Frequency Gravitational Wave Source Sensitivity," ApJ, 911, 137
Alam, M. F., et al. (70 authors, including Lam, M. T.), 2021, “The NANOGrav 12.5-year Data Set: Observations and Narrowband Timing of 47 Millisecond Pulsars," ApJS, 252, 4
Lam, M. T., Lazio, T. J. W., Dolch, T., Jones, M. L., McLaughlin, M. A., Stinebring, D. R., Surnis,
M., 2020, “On Frequency-Dependent Dispersion Measures and the Extreme Scattering Events," ApJ, 892, 89
Pol, N., Lam, M. T., McLaughlin, M. A., Lazio, T. J. W., Cordes, J. M., 2019, "Estimates of Fast Radio Burst Dispersion Measures from Cosmological Simulations," ApJ, 886, 135
Lam, M. T., Romano, J. D., Key, J. S., Normandin, M., Hazboun, J. S., 2018, "An Acoustical Analogue of a Galactic-scale Gravitational-Wave Detector," AJP, 86, 755
Lam, M. T., Cordes, J. M., Chatterjee, S., Jones, M. L., McLaughlin, M. A., Armstrong, J. W., 2016, “Systematic and Stochastic Variations in Pulsar Dispersion Measures,” ApJ, 821, 66
In the News
March 20, 2023
Why does time change when traveling close to the speed of light? A physicist explains
Essay by Michael Lam, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, published by The Conversation.
May 23, 2022
RIT student Olivia Young receives prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
Astrophysical sciences and technology Ph.D. student Olivia Young earned a competitive fellowship from the National Science Foundation to develop machine learning algorithms that will help scientists use radio telescopes to study transient objects such as pulsars and fast radio bursts.
July 2, 2021
NSF renews funding for RIT to help detect and characterize low-frequency gravitational waves
The National Science Foundation renewed its support of the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) with a $17 million grant over five years to operate the NANOGrav Physics Frontiers Center (PFC). RIT will receive $703,000 over the next five years to contribute research to the NANOGrav PFC.