Reed Essick

KICP Fellow

Reed Essick
Eckhardt Research Center
Room 411
5640 South Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 834-9785


  • PhD Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2017
  • BS Mechanical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, 2011


Reed has worked on many aspects of transient gravitational wave science, including searches for unmodeled transients, low-latency data quality and multi-messenger alerts, parameter estimation and source localization as well as detector exposure, sensitivity, and calibration. His recent focus has been on the influence of tides within coalescing compact binaries that contain at least one neutron star. Reed uses tidal measurements from gravitational waves, along with other modern astrophysical measurements and theoretical calculations, to constrain the supranuclear equation of state that describes the cores of neutron stars. He is also generally interested in scalable nonparametric Bayesian inference, machine learning with uncertainty quantification, and high-throughput computing.

Recent Talks

  • "Nonparametric Inference of the Neutron Star Equation of State from Gravitational Wave Observations", XLVIII International Workshop on Gross Properties of Nuclei and Nuclear Excitations, Hirschegg, Austria, January 2020 
  • "What to do When Gravity Waves", 90th Compton Lecture Series, Fall 2019
  • "Perspectives on Matter Effects in GW170817", Perimeter Institute, October 2019
  • "Fluid Instabilities in Neutron Star Mergers", Merging Visions, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, June 2019

Recent Publications

  • "Discriminating between Neutron Stars and Black Holes with Imperfect Knowledge of the Maximum Neutron Star Mass", arXiv:2007.01372.
  • "Does Matter Matter? Using the Mass Distribution to Distinguish between Neutron Stars and Black Holes", ApJ Lett. (in press), arXiv:2006.13178.
  • "iDQ: Statistical Inference of Non-Gaussian Noise with Auxiliary Degrees of Freedom in Gravitational-Wave Detectors", Machine Learning: Science and Technology (2020), arXiv:2005.12761.
  • "Direct Astrophysical Tests of Chiral Effective Field Theory at Supranuclear Densities", arXiv:2004.07744.
  • "Nonparametric Constraints on Neutron Star Matter with Existing and Upcoming Gravitational Wave and Pulsar Observations", Phys Rev D (2020), arXiv:2003.04880.
  • "Calibrating Gravitational-wave Detectors with GW170817", Class. and Quant. Grav. (2019), arXiv:1902.08076.
  • "Constraining the p-mode--g-mode Tidal Instability with GW170817", Phys. Rev. Lett. (2019), arXiv:1808.08676.
  • "Frequency-Dependent Responses in 3rd Generation Gravitational-Wave Detectors" Phys. Rev. D (2017), arXiv:1708.06843.

Interests Outside Academia

Reed enjoys long bike rides along the shore of Lake Michigan and replacing the calories burnt along the way in new restaurants. He also enjoys baking bread, bagels, and pretzels as well as brewing his own beer and kombucha.