Ollie BurkePhD Student
My work involves both data analysis and source modelling of extreme mass-ratio inspirals (EMRIs). An EMRI is formed when a small compact object is gravitationally captured and bound to a supermassive black hole. Modelling EMRIs is highly non-trivial since their inspiral timescale is long (~months to years) and have very rich phase evolution. These sources will be detectable, in the milli-hertz regime, by the space-borne gravitational wave detector - the Laser Interferometer Space Antennae. My previous work involves detectability of EMRIs in the (interesting) case where the primary is rapidly rotating close to the theoretical limit as predicted by GR. Currently I am working on developing full templates for EMRIs where the primary is rapidly rotating; transition from (adiabatic inspiral) to plunge. Future projects will involve the influence that data gaps have on both parameter estimation/precision. I also wish to address the EMRI detection problem: How does one extract a very weak EMRI signal buried within the noise of the LISA data stream? My time at AEI will be dedicated to answering this problem.
I studied mathematics for four years at the University of Edinburgh (UoE). I then continued from my undergraduate degree by taking a masters degree in Mathematics, specialising in both applied maths and mathematical physics. It was at this time I became interested in General Relativity and, in particular, the mathematical theories of black holes. My masters dissertation focused on a derivation of the Kerr solution with a rigorous analysis of the global properties described by the hole. Following this interest, I began a PhD in gravitational wave astronomy at the University of Edinburgh with supervisor Jonathan Gair. I worked at UoE for 2 years and will now finish my doctorate at the AEI.