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A new look at the turbulent interstellar medium

Project Description

Supersonic turbulent motions are thought to play a major role in star formation process. Theories have suggested that ’turbulence’ is responsible for shaping the interstellar medium (ISM), regulating star formation, and even setting the masses of stars as they form in young clusters. However, the properties of the turbulent motions in the ISM are difficult to determine: we can only use the doppler shifting of molecular emission lines to probe their velocities — giving us 1D, not 3D information — and these lines are often optically thick, such that their shapes are difficult to interpret.

Numerical simulations of the turbulent ISM can help here. By using simulations that track the formation and destruction of CO and other species, we can then make synthetic observations of the simulations and use these to study the properties of the turbulence. Since we know the ‘true’ underlying properties of the turbulence in our 3D simulations, we can then test how the standard techniques used on observational data perform on synthetic observations. We can also make use of a machine learning approach to develop new techniques for studying the properties of ISM turbulence in our simulations and observational datasets.

The work in this PhD will introduce you to a wide range of ISM physics — such as ISM chemistry, molecular line radiative transfer, and fluid dynamics — and also advanced statistics and machine learning techniques.

Consideration is automatic upon application for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy in Physics and Astronomy with an October 2019 start date.

In the ’Research proposal and Funding’ section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided (you are able to state multiple advertised projects that you would like to be considered for)

Please select ’No, I am not self-funding my research’ when asked whether you are self-funding your research.

Please add ’STFC funded studentship’ when asked ’Please provide the name of the funding you are applying for’.

Funding Notes

Tuition fee support: Full UK/EU tuition fees
Maintenance stipend: Doctoral stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum

You should have obtained, or be about to obtain a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree in Physics , or a related subject, Alternatively, applicants with equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK will also be considered. Applicants with a Lower Second Class degree will be considered if they also have a Master’s degree.
Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS)

How good is research at Cardiff University in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 19.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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