Douglas Boubert

PhD student, University of Cambridge

What I am all about.

I am an astrophysics PhD student at the Institute of Astronomy in the University of Cambridge. My work lies in the intersection of Galactic dynamics and binary star evolution and in the application of Bayesian inference to the same. I will be applying for post-doctoral positions in the 2017/18 cycle so I can continue my work on the fastest stars in the Galaxy!


2015 - Present

PhD in Astrophysics

University of Cambridge

Cambridge, United Kingdom

2011 - 2015

MSci/BA in Natural Sciences

University of Cambridge

Cambridge, United Kingdom


Hypervelocity stars

The stand-out accomplishment of my PhD was to explain the origin of the fastest stars in the Galaxy. These two dozen young, hot stars in the outskirts of the Milky Way are the only main sequence stars travelling fast enough to escape the Milky Way. Despite the Northern hemisphere having been searched thoroughly for these stars they have only been found at the very edge of the searched region in the constellation of Leo. Previous work has argued that these stars come from interactions of binary stars with the massive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, but this has not been able to explain their peculiar anisotropic distribution on the sky. I have published two papers in collaboration with Wyn Evans, Denis Erkal and Robert Izzard where we argue that these stars originate in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy that is flying past our own Galaxy.

Boubert, D., & Evans, N. W. 2016, ApJ, 825, L6

Boubert, D., Erkal, D., Evans, N. W., & Izzard, R. G. 2017, MNRAS, 469, 2151

Runaway stars

We searched ten nearby supernova remnants for a runaway former companion of the supernova progenitor. While we are not the first to conduct such a search, we are the first to use a fully Bayesian method which self-consistently includes \emph{TGAS} stellar kinematics and photometry with the Green et al. (2015) dust-map, a binary evolution driven prior for the properties of runaway stars and the uncertainties in the distance and age of the supernova remnant itself. We found three new candidates and strongly confirmed one previously known candidate. One of our new candidates is a Be star which adds evidence to its candidacy.

Boubert, D., Fraser, M., Evans, N. W., Green, D., & Izzard, R. G. 2017, preprint (arXiv:1704.05900)

Other interests


Two-on-one teaching of undergraduate students in first year mathematics and third year Physics of Astrophysics for the University of Cambridge.


Developed the VR app "Virtual Sky - ISS" which simulates the view from the orbit of the ISS. Host groups of school-age children at the Cambridge Observatories.


Member of the graduate student forum in the Institute of Astronomy. Student representative on a major building project at Churchill College.




Institute of Astronomy, Madingley Rise
Cambridge, UK, CB3 0HA
d.boubert at