Hi, I'm Nathanael.

I'm an Australian completing my PhD in Clermont-Ferrand, France. I love to tinker, solve problems and understand what's really going on behind everyday phenomena.

I also spend part of my time doing full stack web development at Hello Uni, working on building and launching their online revision platform.

Check out my past and current research, some of my recent projects, or read what I'm doing right now on my blog: Good Food, Good Code.

What I do.

Everyday, we and every other living creature on the planet feels a small bit of radiation. This radiation comes from both outer space, and the earth around us.

Using experiments conducted in the Modane Underground Laboratory together with computer simulations of how radiation interacts with cells and DNA, I hope to determine if radiation is an important agent in the evolution of life.

About me.

I like to understand things, looking for trends and patterns, and learning new ideas, in order to discover how things work. Finding out something new is always exciting, developing a solution to a difficult problem is a challenge I love.

Of course, together with learning, I love sharing ideas and communicating them. Coming from a big family, this has always been important, but I believe there is something special in sharing knoweldge with those around us.

And finally to unwind you'll often find me playing guitar or saxophone, playing board games with friends, or reading a novel outdoors on a sunny day.

Past studies and experience.

I graduated from Monash University in January 2014 with first class honours in both of my degree programs, the Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering and the Bachelor of Science (Physics, Maths).

I've held paid research positions regularly since 2010, and have experience communicating scientific ideas as both a teaching associate and public science lecturer at the Parkes Radio Telescope.

My Research

From astrophysics to microbiology, I've touched on a number of subjects. Currently I'm working on my PhD exploring the interactions between radiation and evolution.

Other projects I've worked on include simulations of quantum fluids, and the development of x-ray detectors.

Experimenting with evolution: how radiation affects DNA in the long term


Video render of a DNA chain built out of repeating curved blocks to conserve memory, so that it can be used inside Monte Carlo particle transport packages. The scale of the chain is exaggerated.

It's a difficult question. Radiation affects DNA. There is no doubt about it, but does the small amount of radiation we experience on a daily basis impact the evolution of life? That is the question I'm working to answer.

Working in different radiative environments, I evolve bacteria over multiple generations to see how soon mutations manifest in the population.

Using the Geant4-DNA toolkit, I simulate effect of radiation on DNA at the nanometre level, to see how it causes strand breakages and oxidative damage. This requires the development of memory efficient DNA models with millions, ranging to billions, of base pairs.

Probing neutron stars with thermonuclear bursts

Neutron stars are the compact remains of certain supernovae - the last great explosion from the most massive stars. The massive densities found in neutron stars allows for very extreme physics to take place on their surfaces.

I compared observations and simulations of thermonuclear x-ray bursts from neutron stars and built programs to automatically analyse gigabytes of simulated data.

The data is available to browse at the KEPLER Models Wiki.

X-ray bursts occur around accreting neutron stars like the one drawn here (photo credit: NASA).

My Projects

Here's a growing list of open source and side projects I'm playing with or contributing to.

You're welcome to find me on GitHub.

Atom syntax highlighting and autocompletion for Geant4 macros (link)

I use the Geant4 toolkit a lot in my research, and so I wrote a little plugin for my favourite text editor to handle autocompletion and syntax highlighting for the simulation macros that are used in Geant4.

Automatic colour-based clustering in OpenCFU

OpenCFU is designed to quickly and easily allow biologists to count colonies on Petrie dishes.

My research in biology involves counting colonies of two distinct colours on petrie dishes, so I wrote the contribution necessary to automatically recognise the dominant colours present in an image so that different coloured colonies are counted separately.

For more information, see my blog post on the subject.

My Publications

  1. Lampe N. et al. 2016 Simulating the Impact of the Natural Radiation Background on Bacterial Systems: Implications for Very Low Radiation Biological Experiments. In prep.
  2. Lampe N. et al. 2016 Background study of absorbed dose in biological experiments at the Modane Underground Laboratory Proceedings of the Journées des LARD, accepted for publication.
  3. Lampe, N., Heger. A, & Galloway D.K. 2016 The Influence of Accretion Rate and Metallicity on Thermonuclear Bursts: Predictions from KEPLER Models The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 819, 46 [link]
  4. Lampe, N. 2013 Number Patterns in Levy D. (ed.) ExamPro: Further Mathematics AN Media, Melbourne [link]
  5. Koussas, T., Levy D., Lampe, N. et al. 2013 ExamPro: Specialist Mathematics, AN Media, Melbourne [link]
  6. Galloway, D.K. & Lampe, N. 2012 On the Consistency of Neutron-star Radius Measurements from Thermonuclear Bursts, The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 747, 75-83 [link]

Contact Me

Looking to contact me? You can reach me by email or if you'd rather, I'm also on LinkedIn.

Email me:

Find me on LinkedIn.

I blog at Good Food, Good Code.