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Numerical simulation and modelling of gravitational waves from colliding black holes

Cardiff School of Physics and Astronomy

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Prof Mark Hannam , Prof Stephen Fairhurst No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Cardiff United Kingdom Astrophysics Theoretical Physics

About the Project

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 gravitational-wave detections from Advanced LIGO and Virgo. One of the most pressing problems is to model binaries where the black-hole spins introduce wild dynamics that generate complicated waveforms. As gravitational-wave detectors become more sensitive, and hundreds more binaries are observed, much more accurate models will be necessary to make definitive measurements of black-hole masses and spins, and put general relativity to the most stringent tests ever. There are many possible directions for this project, with a focus on numerical simulations of black-hole binaries, construction of waveform models, and/or using them to address the astrophysical and fundamental physics questions.

This project will be funded by the STFC.
Applicants should apply to the Doctor of Philosophy in Physics and Astronomy with a start date of 1st October 2021.

How to Apply:

Applicants should submit an application for postgraduate study via the Cardiff University webpages ( including:

• an upload of your CV
• a personal statement/covering letter
• two references
• Current academic transcripts

Applicants should select Doctor of Philosophy, with a start date of October 2021.

In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project. If you are applying for more than one project, please list the individual titles of the projects in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select ’I will be applying for a scholarship/grant’ and specify that you are applying for advertised funding from the STFC. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend an interview in February.

Entry requirements:

Candidates 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)
Please see our English Language Requirements guidance ( for more details.

Funding Notes

This research project is one of a number of projects in the Cardiff School of Physics and Astronomy. It is in competition for STFC funding with one or more of these projects.

This project is eligible for a fully funded STFC studentship which includes :
• A full UK fee waiver for 3.5 years
• An annual tax free stipend of £15,285 (2020/2021)
• Research Training Support Grant (RTSG)
• Conference Fees & UK Fieldwork fun
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