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Exploring the extreme magnetospheres and interiors of young neutron stars (FERDMANRU19SF)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, May 31, 2019
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

The investigation of recently formed neutron stars through observations of pulsars can shed important light on their exotic interiors and the evolution of their powerful magnetic fields. Specifically, young pulsars are known to display “glitch” behaviour – the near-instantaneous increase in rotation frequency ¬– due to a sudden change in the angular momentum of the superfluid that is thought to permeate their turbulent interiors. They also show longer-term quasi-random changes in their rotation (so-called “timing noise”), thought to be caused by changes in their extreme magnetospheres. The relatively rapid changes to their spin periods make them excellent tools to study the evolution of these strong magnetic field environments - many orders of magnitude stronger than anything we could hope to reproduce in Earth-based laboratories. In this PhD project, we will undertake multi-wavelength observations of young pulsars, particularly with world-class radio observatories and X-ray space telescopes. This will help to unravel and characterise the properties and evolution of several young pulsars, and the extreme physical conditions that their observations can probe.

Applications are processed as soon as they are received and the project may be filled before the closing date, so early application is encouraged.

Project Start Date: Oct 2019
Acceptable First Degree: Physics, Astronomy/astrophysics
Minimum Entry Requirements: UK 2:1

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at View Website.

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


i) Ferdman, R. D., Archibald, R. F., Gourgouliatos, K. N., & Kaspi, V. M. (2018). The Glitches and Rotational History of the Highly Energetic Young Pulsar PSR J0537–6910. The Astrophysical Journal, 852, 123

ii) Archibald, R. F., Gotthelf, E. V., Ferdman, R. D., Kaspi, V. M., Guillot, S., Harrison, F. A., Keane, E. F., Pivovaroff, M. J., Stern, D., Tendulkar, S. P., Tomsick, J. A. (2016). A High Braking Index for a Pulsar. The Astrophysical Journal, 819, L16

iii) Ferdman, R. D., Archibald, R.F., Kaspi, V. M. (2015). Long-term timing and emission behavior of the young Crab-like pulsar PSR B0540−69. The Astrophysical Journal, 812, 9

iv) Lyne, A. G., et al. (2010). Switched Magnetospheric Regulation of Pulsar Spin-Down. Science, 329, 408

v) Espinoza, C.M., Lyne, A. G., Stappers, B. W., Kramer, M. (2011). A study of 315 glitches in the rotation of 102 pulsars. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 414, 1679

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