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RESEARCH STUDENTSHIP

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					                                           RESEARCH STUDENTSHIP
                                                OR BURSARY
                                                 FURTHER PARTICULARS
                                        [to be completed by the Research Institute]


Research studentships are offered to students wishing to undertake a PhD programme on a full-
time basis. All studentships are highly competitive and you should ensure (and demonstrate)
that there is a good match between your own qualifications and interests and those being
sought for the particular studentship.

Research Institute where    Environment, Physical Sciences and Applied Mathematics (EPSAM)
studentship will be held
Studentship reference       EPSAM 2009-02

Web link to any further     www.astro.keele.ac.uk
information
Research topic or field -   Astrophysics
title
Research topic or field –   Projects include: extrasolar planets; Active Galactic Nuclei and gamma-
full description            ray bursts (GRBs); dynamics of star clusters, galaxies, and dark matter
                            haloes; formation and evolution of star
                            clusters; star formation and the early evolution of stars and clusters;
                            binary stars; mass-loss from red giants in globular clusters and in the
                            field; eruptions of novae; determination of stellar parameters; numerical
                            simulation of stellar interiors – including nucleosynthesis, rotation;
                            progenitors of supernovae and GRBs. See attached document.
Available from (date)       September 2010

Funding support             Full studentships provide tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and a stipend at
available – Fees,           the research council rate; 3-, 3½ – and 4-year studentships available
stipend, duration
Source of funding           STFC

Eligibility criteria        Must hold at least an upper second-class Bachelors degree or an
                            appropriate Masters qualification in a physics related subject or its
                            equivalent.
Terms and conditions of     Candidates must be UK residents to be eligible for full funding (fees
studentship                 +stipend), EU nationals (who are non UK residents) qualify for a fee
                            only award.
Number of studentships       At least 3
available
Application details         In order to be considered for a studentship you must complete an
                            application form for PhD study, and in addition complete an additional
                            form indicating for which studentship you wish to apply.

                            Full details of application procedures for study are on the Keele website
                            www.keele.ac.uk/gradschool or contact The Graduate School for a
                            Graduate School Prospectus and application form (Graduate School,
                            Keele University, Staffordshire, ST5 5AZ tel: 01782 734368, email:
                            gradschool@keele.ac.uk )

Closing date for            9th April 2010
applications

Contact for further         info@astro.keele.ac.uk and +44 (0)1782 734071 for informal enquiries. Formal
information                 applications to be sent via Graduate School. Contact within Astrophysics
                            group:- Professor Nye Evans, School of Physical and Geographical Sciences,
                            Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG.
                    Astrophysics Group, Keele University
Keele's astrophysics group is one of the leading centers for stellar astrophysics in the UK. Supported by a
STFC Rolling Grant, the nine permanent staff lead a diverse programme of observational and theoretical
astrophysics. Topics studied are extrasolar planets, black holes, Gamma-ray bursts, binary stars, novae
and other evolved stars, stellar mass loss, star formation and early stellar evolution on the observational
side, stellar evolution on the theoretical side, and the structure and dynamics of star clusters, galaxies,
and dark-matter haloes. Keele gains more than 20 nights of time per year on telescopes of 4-m class or
larger, in addition to large allocations on satellites such as HST, Chandra, Spitzer and XMM; we are also
a partner institute in the VISTA (4-m) and SALT (10-m) projects. Keele has its own Beowulf cluster with
156 CPUs available for large scale simulations. Postgraduate students enter a supportive environment in
which all recent students have lead-authored papers in major refereed journals before writing their PhD.
We have a 100% PhD submission rate within 4 years. There are opportunities for paid demonstrating in
undergraduate labs and classes. Areas of research available to new students include:

 Extra-solar planets (Prof C. Hellier, Dr P.F.L. Maxted and Dr B. Smalley). Keele University operates
   the WASP-South observatory in South Africa, as part of the award-winning Wide-Angle Search for
   Planets (WASP) consortium. The WASP-South instrument is the leading transit-survey in the Southern
   hemisphere, and has found the brightest transiting exoplanets in the Southern skies. Such systems
   are the best probes we have of the nature and evolution of planets. Keele PhD students will:
    join in the discovery of transiting exoplanets.
    lead follow-up studies of exoplanets using leading facilities such as ESO's Very Large Telecope
      and the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes
    contribute to the operation and development of the WASP-South observatory.
    become a member of the WASP (Wide-Angle Search for Planets) consortium. See
      www.superwasp.org

 Black Hole Astrophysics (Dr J. Reeves). Projects are available in forefront research into super
   massive black holes. The nuclei of all galaxies, including our own Milky Way, contain super-massive
   black holes, a few million to a few billion times the mass of our Sun. Many of these galaxies contain
   Active Galactic Nuclei, which produce vast amounts of radiation powered by the gravitational energy of
   matter falling onto the black hole. This energy is emitted in the form of high energy radiation, such as
   X-rays and is greater than all the starlight in one whole galaxy combined, but produced in a region
   smaller than the size of the Solar System. Students will study this region closest to the black hole
   event horizon using space based telescopes such as Chandra, XMM-Newton and Suzaku, for which
   the group has substantial amounts of observing time. By studying the emission from elements such as
   iron, the properties of the very hot material around super-massive black holes can be deduced,
   providing a direct probe of the black hole's strong gravitational pull.

 Gamma-ray Bursts (Dr J. Reeves & Dr R. Hirschi). Students can work on observational or theoretical
   research on Gamma-ray bursts (or GRBs). GRBs are the most powerful explosions in the known
   Universe, with some types of burst being linked to energetic supernovae, occuring in many distant
   galaxies throughout the Universe, and others due to mergers of compact objects such as black holes
   or neutron stars. Data from the NASA's Swift observatory and numerical simulations of stellar
   endpoints will be used to explore the nature of GRBs, their afterglows and their progenitors at high
   redshifts. A new development includes the discovery of many high redshifts bursts, including one such
   burst at a redshift of z=8.2 (universe only 600 million years old), one of the most distant known objects
   in the Universe. The study of high redshift bursts is important to our understanding of the early
   Universe shortly after the Big Bang and to how the first stars and galaxies formed and evolved.

 Stellar Astrophysics (Observations) (Prof A. Evans, Prof R.D. Jeffries, Dr J.T. van Loon). Students can
   work in a multi-wavelength, multi-technique research programme covering a range of interconnected
   topics of stellar evolution: the formation and early evolution of stars and star clusters; fundamental
   stellar parameters; the evolution of close binary stars; stellar mass loss; and the nature and evolution
   of transient phenomena like novae and "born-again" stars. Observational projects are available to
   study very young stars and their planet-forming environments using a multi-wavelength approach from
   X-rays to the infrared; topics of interest are the accretion of proto-planetary material onto young stars,
   high energy X-ray emission in forming planetary systems, the evolution of angular momentum and
   circumstellar discs, and high resolution imaging of young stellar environments. All of this research is
   conducted using world-leading facilities such as the ESO-VLT telescopes and satellite observatories
   such as XMM-Newton and Spitzer. Some of these studies are performed on other galaxies in the
   Local Group as well as in the Milky Way. The projects take advantage of the diverse theory activities
   at Keele. Students in this area regularly observe at forefront groundbased facilities, e.g., ESO Paranal,
   Mauna Kea, Australia's radio telescopes, or use data obtained with space-based missions such as
   XMM and Spitzer.
 Structure and dynamics of the interstellar medium (Dr J. T. van Loon). The interstellar medium (ISM)
   of galaxies plays a crucial role in their formation and evolution. It is the source of new stars and
   planets, and the recycling agency for the chemically-enriched waste dumped by stellar winds and
   supernova explosions. On large galactic scales, the ISM structure sets the rate of star formation and
   the entrainment of outflows. On small interstellar scales, phase transitions and mixing between cold
   molecular clouds, warmer diffuse clouds and million-Kelvin hot plasma are driven upwards by the
   injection of energy and momentum, and downwards by thermal and dynamical instabilities. Lack of
   understanding these processes arises mainly from inherent difficulty to probe the smallest scales and
   to account for the total mass budget across the different ISM phases. We have a project to make an
   accurate inventory of cold gas in the halo of the Milky Way, the inter-galactic medium of the Local
   Group, and the ISM of the neighbouring Magellanic System. The student will work on the most
   detailed and sensitive HI survey, currently being carried out with the Arecibo radio telescope, and its
   planned southern equivalent with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder. Ancillary infrared
   survey data will be used, obtained using the Spitzer Space Telescope and planned for the Herschel
   Space Observatory. The student will engage also in absorption-line experiments towards continuum
   sources within and in the background of the Galactic halo and Magellanic System, to probe the
   physical conditions in the tiniest ISM structures on AU to parsec scales.

 Stellar Astrophysics (Theory) (Dr R. Hirschi). Research in the areas of multi-scale numerical
   simulations incorporating nucleosynthesis, rotation, magnetic fields, and hydrodynamic turbulent
   mixing, to study the evolution of stars of all masses. Student projects (with a possible observational
   part) are available on stellar evolution, hydrodynamic mixing, nuclear astrophysics (including
   comprehensive nucleosynthesis), abundance patterns in very low metallicity (first-generation) stars
   and the evolution of supernova (and GRB see above) progenitors.

 Star Clusters, Galaxies, and Dark Matter (Dr D. McLaughlin). Students can conduct research in the
   general area of stellar and galaxy dynamics, using a mixture of theory and data modelling to address
   interconnected problems on the structure and evolution of dense star clusters, galaxies, and the
   haloes of dark matter that account for most of the matter in the Universe. Projects are available
   focussing on
    the internal structures and dynamics of ancient globular star clusters, including the stellar
       distributions around "intermediate-mass" black holes
    the evolutionary connection between globulars and the much younger star clusters that form in
       starburst and merging galaxies at the present day
    the "nuclear" star clusters at the centres of galaxies, including their relationship to supermassive
       black holes and the role they might play in galaxy formation generally
    the structure and dynamics of the baryonic and dark-matter components of entire galaxies, in
       particular as traced by star-cluster populations
    the physics of dark-matter haloes in their own right.

				
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posted:5/28/2010
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