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PhD Studentship GW Astrophysics Maynooth University

Feb 07, 2020

A fully funded PhD position is now available in Dr. John Regan's research group at Maynooth University. The project will entail modelling the gravitational wave emission from merging black holes in the early Universe. The detection of Gravitational Wave signals from the early Universe is a key science goal of the upcoming, ESA led, LISA mission due for launch in 2034. Accurate predictions for gravitational waves emanating from the early Universe are required far in advance of the mission launch date. Moreover, the detection of gravitational waves from merging black holes in the distant universe is seen as one of the main mechanisms through which we may uncover the true origin of super-massive black  holes.
Application Deadline: Friday May 1st 2020.

Project Description

Recent detections of gravitational waves from stellar mass sized black holes with the LIGO observatory has opened up a new window for black hole astrophysics as well as heralding the dawn of multimessenger astrophysics. LIGO is sensitive to the mergers of black holes in the range 10 solar masses up to approximately 100 solar masses out to a few megaparsecs.
LISA is the planned, next generation, space based gravitational wave observatory due for launch in 2034. LISA will be sensitive to gravitational waves at a much lower frequency compared to LIGO and as a result will be able to detect the mergers of both much larger and much more distant black
holes. Planning for LISA is now well underway and the science base and objectives are being determined.
This PhD project will involve computing gravitational wave forms from mergers of massive black holes from the early Universe – which will be detectable by LISA. The origin of massive black holes is currently unknown and hence being able to detect their mergers from the early Universe is
seen as a critical aspect in understanding their formation pathways. In this project the student will use the state-of-the-art Enzo-E code to model the mergers of black holes. In doing so the student will be able to accurately compute the gravitational wave signal from black holes which are
merging in the distant Universe thus making predictions for LISA. Student fees and a full stipend (€18k per annum) are available as part of this studentship.

Candidate Criteria

Applicants should have (or be about to complete) an undergraduate degree and/or taught postgraduate degree in (applied) mathematics, (theoretical) physics, computer science or a  related discipline. Past experience shows that successful applicants usually have a very good first class degree (or equivalent). Applicants with computational experience are particularly encouraged to apply. In addition, the applicants must have excellent communication, planning and team working skills.

Application Procedure

Application Deadline: Friday May 1st 2020   
Students who wish to apply for this studentship should apply in writing to john.regan(at)mu.ie.
Please put “PhD Studentship Position” in the subject of the email. The application must comprise:

  1. A full CV
  2. A cover letter outlining why you wish to pursue this PhD programme
  3. Two references, preferably from your current academic institution, outlining your suitability for the position

Shortlisted candidates will be notified of the outcome of the selection process in early May with interviews in mid-late May.
The start date for the PhD is expected to be September 2020.

Please direct any questions or queries on the above position to Dr. John Regan (john.regan(at)mu.ie)