Imperial College London Featured PhD Programmes
Imperial College London Featured PhD Programmes
Norwich Research Park Featured PhD Programmes
Norwich Research Park Featured PhD Programmes
Cardiff University Featured PhD Programmes

Extra-Solar Gas Giant Planets, theories meet observations

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  • Full or part time
    Prof S Nayakshin
    Dr M Burleigh
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The census of close separation exoplanets now exceeds thousands of planets around stars of different masses, metallicities, and binarity. These observations drive a significant re-evaluation of theories of planet formation. For example, the most massive gas giants were recently found [1] to follow metallicity correlations "like stars", in contrast to an earlier [2] 2005 study that is dominated by lighter hot Jupiters.

Additionally, we start to resolve protoplanetary discs and even planets themselves directly. High resolution observations by ALMA, a revolutionary interferomer, show the presence of young giant planets in annular disc structures [3,4]. That, and the census of young discs show that at least some planets can form surprisingly fast because by about 1-2 Million year the discs are only about as massive as the planets we observe [5].

Related to this, a large number of theoretical studies have found in the last decade that gas giants born in the outer cold disc do not stay there but migrate inward rapidly [see Review 6]. We have recently showed [7] that this process provides promising theoretical interpretations for the puzzling observations mentioned above. We have recently led a large collaborative theoretical study [submitted] of these processes which allows us to develop numerical tools to predict the outcome of this scenario statistically.

In this project we shall further develop these theoretical tools. Our eventual goal is to release the population synthesis code for free public use to allow observers world wide to test this scenario against their or archival data. This would be the first code of this kind both in terms of public access and also the physics involved. Leicester is an ideal test ground for this project because of the Department’s close association with the Next Generation Transit Survey [8] that become operational recently and is currently discovering new planets. NGTS ability to find or follow up planets around M dwarf stars is especially relevant since it provides a new test bed to constrain theories.

An ideal candidate for this project will be interested in using theoretical or numerical work, in conjunction with analysis of exoplanetary populations, in order to understand how planets form.

Funding Notes

This project is eligible for a fully funded STFC studentship which includes :
· A full UK/EU fee waiver for 3.5 years
· An annual tax free stipend of £14,777 (2018/19)
· Research Training Support Grant (RTSG)
· Conference Fees & UK Fieldwork

Studentships are available to UK/EU applicants who meet the STFC Residency Criteria; if you have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years you will normally be entitled to apply for a full studentship.



Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Leicester in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 49.33

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2019
All rights reserved.