PhD position | Modeling gravitational waves from merging black holes in the small-mass ratio limit

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Job Offer from June 24, 2021

The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, AEI) in Potsdam, Germany, announces the opening of one PhD position in the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Gravitational-Wave Astronomy in Potsdam. The latter is comprised of the AEI’s “Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity” division, the AEI’s “Computational Relativistic Astrophysics” division, the University of Potsdam, the Humboldt University of Berlin, and the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics.

For this PhD position, we are looking for a student (m/f/d) interested in modeling gravitational waves emitted during the late inspiral, merger and ringdown of a binary black-hole coalescence in the small-mass ratio limit. The successful candidate will combine analytical techniques to solve the relativistic two-body problem with numerical simulations obtained solving the Einstein equations in the small-mass ratio limit (notably the Teukolsky equations). The results will be used to improve the next-generation waveform models, currently under development, and achieve the high precision required by upcoming LIGO and Virgo observation runs, and future detectors on the ground (Einstein Telescope and Cosmic Explorer) and in space (LISA).

Our graduate students are exposed to a variety of research topics and have access to a world-wide research network, including international partner universities (University of Maryland and the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics at Kyoto University), the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, and the LISA consortium. Students may also participate in building the science case for third generation ground-based detectors, such as the Einstein Telescope and Cosmic Explorer.  

The two research divisions at the AEI operate three high-performance computer clusters to carry out source modelling and data-analysis studies, and to run numerical-relativity simulations of binary black holes, compact objects with matter, and the core collapse of massive stars.

Further details: overview and curriculum of the IMPRS and its associated research groups. Successful applicants will conduct their research projects at the AEI in Potsdam, and they will be enrolled either at the University of Potsdam or the Humboldt University in Berlin. The expected duration of the PhD program is three years, and it can be extended to four years in exceptional cases. Applicants are required to have a Master degree (or an equivalent degree) in a topic relevant for the PhD position, e.g., Physics, Mathematics or Astronomy/Astrophysics, by the start of the PhD program.

The science campus in Potsdam offers a stimulating research environment with three Max-Planck Institutes and two Fraunhofer Institutes. The city of Potsdam is home to over 40 research institutes, and is located just 30 minutes from the city center of Berlin.

Please apply via our online application portal. You will be asked to upload a cover letter, curriculum vitae, your university transcripts, a statement of research interests, your MSc thesis (if available), and a list of publications (if applicable). Applicants also need to indicate the names of three referees for recommendation letters. Referees will be notified by email on how to upload the letters.

The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics is an equal opportunity employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or disability.

Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. The deadline for full consideration is August 25th, 2021. Applications will continue to be considered until the position is filled. The expected starting date of the PhD position is as early as the Fall-Winter 2021.

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