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Multi-messenger Probes of Neutron Star Physics

Project Description

The University of Bath invites applications from outstanding candidates for a 3.5-year funded studentship to be held in the Bath Astrophysics Group to study multi-messenger probes of neutron star physics.

The successful applicant will work with Dr. David Tsang, Dr. Hendrik Van Eerten and other members of the Bath Astrophysics Group whose research interests include observation and simulation of gamma-ray burst, and multi-messenger observations of merging compact binaries (Prof. Carole Mundell & Dr. Patricia Schady). The student will also benefit from a broader international network with collaborators at the University of Amsterdam, the University of Southampton, California State University at Fullerton, and members of the LIGO/Virgo collaboration.

Recent breakthroughs in the detection of gravitational waves have opened a new window into our understanding of the universe. The multi-messenger detections of binary neutron star mergers allow us to probe not only the physics of these energetic events, but also the physics of these extreme compact stars themselves. By understanding neutron stars we learn about the most extreme matter in the universe, allowing strong constraints to be placed on nuclear physics at density and temperature ranges inaccessible by terrestrial collider experiments. Neutron stars have solid, heavy-element crusts surrounding superfluid/superconducting cores, and can also possess the strongest magnetic fields in the universe. Understanding their structure and dynamics provides exposure to physics across a broad range of disciplines, including material physics, fluid dynamics, nuclear physics and astrophysics.

Using multi-disciplinary analytic and numerical techniques we will explore the theoretical astrophysics of potential multi-messenger probes of neutron star structure and physics that can arise in these objects.

As part of this PhD project you will develop theoretical models of neutron star dynamics and their dependence on the properties of neutron star matter, and nuclear physics. You will explore the detectability of high-energy emission with current burst detectors, in preparation for upcoming electromagnetic/gravitational-wave observing runs. You will also explore other properties and physics of neutron stars that can be inferred from Gamma-Ray, X-ray, and Radio observations of magnetars and pulsars, and gravitational-wave constraints from Advanced LIGO/Virgo.

Through its Doctoral College (, the University of Bath offers a comprehensive programme of postgraduate skills training, strong support for networking with students across disciplines beyond physics, and advice on careers in academia or industry. Regular student-led astrophysics symposia are held with partner Universities through the ’Bristol-Bath-Exeter-Cardiff astrophysics student symposia’ (BBECss) initiative. Academic life in the Bath Astrophysics Group (7 faculty) includes weekly group meetings and literature discussions as well as an Astrophysics seminars and discussions with prestigious external speakers.


Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or high Upper Second Class UK Honours degree (or the equivalent qualification gained outside the UK) in a relevant subject. A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.


Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Dr David Tsang,

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form:

Please ensure that you quote the supervisor’s name and project title in the ‘Your research interests’ section.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Anticipated start date: 30 September 2019.

Funding Notes

Candidates may be considered for a University Research Studentship which will cover UK/EU tuition fees, a training support fee of £1,000 per annum and a tax-free maintenance allowance at the UKRI Doctoral Stipend rate (£14,777 in 2018-19) for a period of up to 3.5 years.


D. Tsang, et al., Physical Review Letters, 108, 011102 (2012)
D. Tsang, The Astrophysical Journal, 777, 103 (2013)
M. Caplan & C. Horowitz, Reviews of Modern Physics, Volume 89, Issue 4, 041002 (2017)
B. Abbott et al., The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 848, 2 (2017)
B. Abbott et al., Physical Review Letters, 121, 161101 (2018)

How good is research at University of Bath in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 23.00

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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