Astrophysical interpretation of gravitational waves with space-based observatories.

   Cardiff School of Physics and Astronomy

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  Dr V Raymond, Dr P Clark  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Gravitational-wave astronomy was pioneered in September 2015 with the first direct observation of gravitational waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). A long time ago, far, far away two black holes spiralled into each other and merged, deforming space-time in the process. Those deformations propagated as waves, carrying information about the properties of the collision of the two black holes.

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) is a space-based observatory expected to be launched into space in 2034. It will be able to probe gravitational-wave sources, their properties and test theories of gravity with unprecedented precision, with great potential to upend our understanding of the universe. However, many challenges remain before we obtain the capability to analyse LISA’s output.

In particular, Bayesian parameter estimation and model selection techniques have been essential to infer the astrophysical properties of the sources of detected gravitational waves. Those methods are a key part of this new field of gravitational-wave astrophysics, and this project will improve existing techniques to enable they use for LISA thereby unlocking its potential. This involves for instance distinguishing an arbitrary number of overlapping sources of very different strengths and morphologies, analysing quickly and efficiently years of data, and developing methods to marginalise out sources of systematic uncertainties.

This work will lead to enabling new constraints of alternative theories of gravity and measurements of the invisible distribution of matter in the universe. This involves developing an using accurate, precise, and efficient methods for observational gravitational-wave astronomy on future observations.


The typical academic requirement is a minimum of a 2:1 a relevant discipline.

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS) (

How to apply

Applicants should apply to the Doctor of Philosophy in Physics and Astronomy.

Applicants should submit an application for postgraduate study via the Cardiff University webpages ( including:

• your academic CV

• a personal statement/covering letter

• two references, at least one of which should be academic

• Your degree certificates and transcripts to date (with certified translations if these are not in English).

In the "Research Proposal" section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project.

This project is only available to self-funded students, please can you include your funding source in the "Self-Funding" section.

Computer Science (8) Mathematics (25) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

Please note that bench fees may be charged in addition to tuition fees for this project. This will be confirmed as part of any formal offer for this project.

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