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How do stars get their mass?

Project Description

A debate is raging in star formation: are the masses of stars set by the turbulent fragmentation of the clouds in which they form, or are they set by the fight between gravity and radiative feedback processes? Both appear to be possible, and perhaps dominate in different star-forming environments, but how and when they dominate is poorly understood. This is a long standing problem in astronomy, as the shape of the mass distribution of stars — the initial mass function, or “IMF” — is central nearly all fields or modern astrophysics, including observational cosmology and planet formation. In this PhD, the student will use high-resolution computer simulations to investigate how stars are born in very different environments, such as those found that are found at the centre of the Milky Way (violent) and those found in the outskirts of the Galaxy (quiescent).

By exploring different physical processes, such as cloud turbulence, magnetic fields, chemical enrichment of the gas and radiative heating from stars, they will determine how the mass distribution of stars is shaped by the physics of the interstellar medium (ISM). The student will be using a state-of-the art astrophysics fluid code, Arepo, which they will run at dedicated supercomputing centres (including those at Cardiff and national facilities). This project will introduce the student to a wide variety of marketable skills, including high-performance computing, code development, and fluid dynamics. A solid background in coding is recommended (in any language).

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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