Graduate Research Opportunities - Specific Jobs   
    Department of Physics Graduate Program - 103-33 - Pasadena - California - 91125

    Numerical Relativity, Computational Astrophysics and Computational Cosmology

Numerical Relativity

In the last few years it has become possible, with the use of massively parallel computers, to solve the Einstein field equations for highly dynamical strong-field phenomena such as colliding black holes and merging neutron stars. Graduate students have the opportunity to develop and implement new computational and mathematical techniques, to study properties of dynamical spacetimes and the details of gravitational wave generation, and to model sources of gravitational waves that are expected to be detected by the LIGO ( and LISA ( experiments. For more information regarding GRAs contact Mark Scheel, ( or Christian Ott (

Computational Relativistic Astrophysics

Relativistic astrophysical phenomena such as stellar collapse, core-collapse supernovae, neutron star collapse to a black hole, long and short gamma-ray bursts, and bursting magnetars involve the dynamics of mass-energy, radiation, and spacetime curvature in extreme conditions. The details of these phenomena are not understood and pose some of the most challenging current questions in astrophysics. Moreover, these systems are cosmic laboratories for fundamental physics, involving all the four fundamental interactions and providing conditions that cannot be realized in earthbound laboratories.

Graduate students interested in the physics and astrophysics of these systems and in their multi-messenger emissions (gravitational waves, neutrinos, electromagnetic waves) have the opportunity to work with our group on a broad range of computational projects aiming at theoretical understanding and multi-messenger signature prediction. For more details, contact Christian Ott (

Computational Astrophysics and Cosmology

Computational Astrophysics and Cosmology The explosion of observational data on galaxies in both the local and distant Universe is driving a revolution in computational techniques for studying the physics of galaxy and star formation. The challenge in these fields is integrating a diverse range of physics (magneto-hydrodynamics, radiation, gravity, plasma physics, and more) over a tremendous dynamic range in spatial and mass scales. As a result there are excellent opportunities for graduate students to develop new and existing techniques and tools in the field of galaxy formation (, especially in predicting what the next generation of space and ground-based telescopes will be able to detect. Areas of active research include the cosmological formation and evolution of galaxies in the Universe (including their dynamics, collisions with other galaxies, and role as cosmological probes of the expansion of the Universe or nature of dark matter), and understanding how stars and super-massive black holes form within those galaxies (including how massive stars, supernovae, and accretion disks around those black holes 'feed back' on the galaxies and inter-galactic gas in the forms of energetic radiation, explosions, and relativistic jets). For more information regarding GRAs contact Phil Hopkins (

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March 2013