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Emmanuel Fonseca

Assistant Professor


Emmanuel works as a radio astronomer to understand compact astrophysical objects and the extreme physical environments that surround them. His research interests currently center on radio pulsars and fast radio bursts (FRBs); while pulsars are known to be rotating neutron stars, the origins of FRBs are largely unknown but are indicative of environments like those produced by neutron stars. Despite their lingering mysteries, both radio pulsars and FRBs have been shown to serve as high-precision laboratories for "fundamental physics", space plasma, and cosmological science. Emmanuel is largely interested in the exploration of relativistic dynamics of pulsars in orbital systems, as well as the applications of FRBs for cosmology, but works with various teams for all sorts of studies that use both types of phenomena.

Since 2016, Emmanuel helped construct software and hardware infrastructures for the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) telescope and two of its instruments that observe pulsars and FRBs. He currently helps maintain both instruments for CHIME, as well as supervises and/or co-leads science projects using CHIME data. Emmanuel also uses other premier radio observatories, such as the 100-m Green Bank Telescope, the former 305-m Arecibo Observatory, and the Very Large Array, for collecting data related to pulsar and FRB astrophysics. Since 2011, Emmanuel is also a long-term member of the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav); he works with NANOGrav observing and timing groups to characterize millisecond pulsars for eventually detecting gravitational radiation at nanohertz frequencies, which are suspected to be generated by a population of supermassive black holes.

Prior to joining WVU in late 2021, Emmanuel worked as a postdoctoral researcher at McGill University in Montréal, Québec, Canada, from late 2016 till early 2021. He attended the University of British Columbia from late 2010 to late 2016, where he obtained his Ph. D in astronomy. Before moving to Canada, Emmanuel obtained dual baccalaureate degrees in physics and astronomy at the Pennsylvania State University, from late 2006 till spring 2010. He was born and raised through the public education system in Malden, Massachusetts, to where his parents immigrated from Bogota, Colombia. 

For more information on Emmanuel's research activities, feel free to explore his academic website: