Welcome to my webpage!

I am a fourth (and final) year astrophysics graduate student at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian in Cambridge, MA and will defend my PhD on April 24 2023.  Before this I completed a double Bachelor’s degree in ‘Mathematics’ and ‘Physics & Astronomy’ at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in 2017. After that, I obtained my MSc. degree in just one year (instead of two) from the University of Amsterdam. I further studied in Sweden (Lund), and pursued research projects as part of international summer programs in the US (Washington DC), Denmark (Copenhagen) and The Netherlands. After doing short research fellowships in Amsterdam (UvA), Edinburgh, Birmingham (U. of Birmingham) and Melbourne (Monash), I am now pursuing my PhD at Harvard University. 

In my current research, I work on Gravitational Wave Paleontology: studying the formation, lives, and explosive deaths of massive stars from their remnants (i.e. “fossils”) as compact object coalescences through gravitational-wave detections. This is particularly exciting as the population of detected compact object coalescences is rapidly increasing with new gravitational-wave observing runs and planned next-generation detectors. This will grow the gravitational-wave catalog from about hundred today to many millions of detections per year by ~2035 with Cosmic Explorer and the Einstein Telescope. To make the most of these observations, and learn about the underlying physical processes that can lead to these compact object coalescences, we need models of their formation pathway. However, this is computationally challenging as there are many uncertainties underlying their modeling. Together with my international team of collaborators and students, I am developing new tools, methods, and pipelines to improve on this and open the field of Gravitational Wave Paleontology and learn about massive stars across cosmic time. My projects focus on building and understanding stellar evolution models, tackling gravitational-wave data challenges, and developing statistical methods to improve computational costs and span topics including black holes and neutron stars, binaries, stellar evolution, pulsars, statistics, merger rates, gravitational-wave observations. 

I work at Harvard in the Cosmic Transient group of Prof Edo Berger and am in addition also an active member of the COMPAS stellar evolution group and work closely with Ilya Mandel (PI of COMPAS) and many other collaborators at Monash University and OzGrav, Melbourne, Australia. More recently, I visited the Bicocca U. Astronomy department in Milan, Italy, in 2022 to collaborate closely with Davide Gerosa, and have been collaborating with Emanuele Berti at JHU.

Besides my research, I enjoy spending time and energy on doing several other things for the Astronomy Community including initiating a group to support early-career astronomers, a conference session at the EAS for early-career astronomers and their supporters as well as that I initiated a session on BH-NS systems, I mentor and supervise several students each year, give outreach talks and am in several organizing committees. Most recently, I am excited to organize the gravitational-wave group at CfA, the Machine Learning Journal Club, as well as a new early-career astronomers & their supporters workshop at CfA. See for more information the other pages on this website. In my free time, I love hiking, running, playing volleyball, cycling & juggling.

Picture of me (Floor Broekgaarden) teaching a demo on using COMPAS data in Saas-Fee. The figure shows the beamer screen with some data points as well as a cat that is looking at the screen

Teaching a COMPAS demo in the Saas-Fee winter school January 2022
  • Giving a presentation in Edinburgh