Michael Coughlin

Michael Coughlin

Michael Coughlin

Assistant Professor, School of Physics and Astronomy


John T. Tate Hall
Room 275-02
116 Church Street Se
Minneapolis, MN 55455


Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics (MIfA)


Ph.D., Harvard University, 2016

M.A., University of Cambridge, 2013

B.S., Carleton College, 2012

Professional Background


Research Interests

My research focuses on using multi-messenger astronomy to study the Universe, coming at the same problem from multiple directions to gain a more complete picture. In particular, I study the coalescence of binary neutron stars with both gravitational waves and electromagnetic data, predominantly using wide field-of-view optical telescopes such as the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) to identify these counterparts. I also use these telescopes to search for future sources from the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), a space-based gravitational wave detector that will study white dwarf binaries in our galaxy as well as binary black hole mergers.

Research Group
Co-Chair, Newtonian Noise Working Group of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, 2017-present
Co-Chair, Long-duration Unmodeled Searches Work Group of the LSC, 2017-present

Selected Publications

  1. Tim Dietrich, Michael W. Coughlin, Peter T. H. Pang, Mattia Bulla, Jack Heinzel, Lina Issa, Ingo Tews, and Sarah Antier. Multimessenger constraints on the neutron star equation of state and the hubble constant. Science, 370(6523):1450–1453, 2020. 

  2. Anand, Shreya and Coughlin, Michael W. et al. Optical follow-up of the neutron star–black hole mergers s200105ae and s200115j. Nature Astronomy, 2020. 

  3. Coughlin et al. Measuring the hubble constant with a sample of kilonovae. Nature Communications, 11(1), Aug 2020. 

  4. Coughlin et al. ZTF J1901+5309: a 40.6-min orbital period eclipsing double white dwarf system. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters494(1):L91–L96, 03 2020. 

  5. Coughlin et al. GROWTH on s190425z: Searching thousands of square degrees to identify an optical or infrared counterpart to a binary neutron star merger with the zwicky transient facility and palomar gattini-IR. The Astrophysical Journal885(1):L19, oct 2019. 

  6. Michael W Coughlin, Tim Dietrich, Ben Margalit, and Brian D Metzger. Multi-messenger Bayesian parameter inference of a binary neutron star merger. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, 489(1):L91–L96, 08 2019. 

  7. Michael W Coughlin, Tim Dietrich, Zoheyr Doctor, Daniel Kasen, Scott Coughlin, Anders Jerkstrand, Giorgos Leloudas, Owen McBrien, Brian D Metzger, Richard OShaughnessy, and Stephen J Smartt. Constraints on the neutron star equation of state from at2017gfo using radiative transfer simulations. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 480(3):3871–3878, 2018. 

  8. M. W. Coughlin, J. Harms, J. Driggers, D. J. McManus, N. Mukund, M. P. Ross, B. J. J. Slagmolen, and K. Venkateswara. Implications of dedicated seismometer measurements on newtonian-noise cancellation for advanced ligo. Phys. Rev. Lett., 121:221104, Nov 2018. 

  9. Coughlin et al. Optimizing searches for electromagnetic counterparts of gravitational wave triggers. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 478(1):692–702, 2018. 

  10. Michael Coughlin, Tim Dietrich, Kyohei Kawaguchi, Stephen Smartt, Christopher Stubbs, and Maximiliano Ujevic. Toward rapid transient identification and characterization of kilonovae. The Astrophysical Journal, 849(1):12, 2017.