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Modelling and studying gravitational waves from black-hole-binary mergers

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

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  • Full or part time
    Prof Mark Hannam
    Prof Stephen Fairhurst
  • 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

Accurate models of the gravitational-wave signal emitted by generic configurations of black-hole binaries as they inspiral and collide, have been essential to measure the properties of the black holes observed in the first gravitational-wave detections from Advanced LIGO. One of the most pressing problems is the modelling of generic binaries, where the black-hole spins introduce wild dynamics that generate complicated waveforms. We currently have a preliminary waveform model, but this does not take into account the subtle precession effects at the black holes approach merger, or their effect on the waveform as the final black hole rings down. It is also important, for both gravitational-wave searches and measurements of physical parameters, to determine those physical parameters that have the dominant effects on the waveform structure, and are therefore the parameters that can be most precisely measured. This has an impact both on how we construct waveform models, and on the astrophysical questions that can be answered with gravitational-wave observations. Several research directions are possible, including modelling the late-inspiral waveforms of generic systems, using these models to estimate the physics that can be measured from GW observations, and studying astrophysics from binary-black-hole observations.

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.

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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)

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