index members phd projects seminars research links

PhD Projects

Physics Department postgraduate information pages and the School of Mathematics and Statistics web-pages contain more general information about postgraduate studies in the two departments.

Please apply online, making sure that all supporting documents (such as degree transcripts and references) are supplied. Please apply to the Department of Physics and Astronomy to work with Prof. Roszkowski and to the School of Mathematics and Statistics to work with Dr. van de Bruck or Prof. Winstanley.

Details of possible projects are given below.

Information on PhD places available at other UK Institutions is being collected here.

WIMP direct and indirect detection (LR)

Assessing WIMP discovery potential in direct and indirect detection searches. The expected signals depend on a particular framework of new physics, like supersymmetry, grand unification, etc, and also on a dark matter halo model for our galaxy. Related theoretical issues in collider signatures for new physics, especially at the LHC and in b-factories, will also be considered.

Supersymmetry and the LHC (LR)

With the LHC coming online, the question of the existence of low-energy supersymmetry will come to a critical test. In order to make full use of the implications from expected experimental results for theoretical models, a powerful formalism based on Bayesian statistics has been developed. As more and more data becomes available, it will allow one to work out ensuing implications for supersymmetric models and to select the one chosen by Nature.


Dark energy and structure formation (CvdB)

Dark energy is the mysterious energy form which is responsible for the accelerated expansion of the universe. Not much is known about dark energy, but it is usually assumed that it is not coupled to cold dark matter and normal matter. However, from the view of particle physics theories it is natural to assume that dark energy interacts directly with other matter forms in the universe (e.g. neutrinos, cold dark matter). The aim of the project is to investigate the impact of a coupling between dark matter and dark energy for cosmological observations. In particular, the focus is on formation and evolution of non-linear perturbations such as the formation of clusters of galaxies. Semi-analytical methods will be developed, which take into account the evolution and inhomogeneities of a dark energy scalar field.

Models of inflation with multiple fields (CvdB)

Studying the dynamics of inflation with more than one scalar field and investigating the resulting spectrum of perturbations. Inflation could be driven by more than one field (multiple field inflation) or a second field is responsible for the perturbations (such as the curvaton). In this case the primordial fluctuations will be more complicated than in the standard case. For example, the perturbations could obey a non-Gaussian statistics or the primordial power spectrum contains features. The background fields could also alter the dynamics of the inflationary phase itself.

Classical hairy black holes (EW)

Investigating the existence, stability and physical properties (such as thermodynamics) of classical black hole solutions of the Einstein equations with various types of matter. Models containing non-Abelian gauge fields, scalar fields or arising from string theory are of particular interest. Typically the black hole solutions themselves have to be found numerically, however, mathematical analysis of the field equations is also important.

Quantum field theory on black hole spacetimes (EW)

The properties of quantum fields on black hole backgrounds, particularly with a cosmological constant and in higher dimensions. The main quantity of interest is the renormalized expectation value of the quantum stress-energy tensor. There are also issues relating to how one defines the standard quantum states on these black hole backgrounds, and whether these states exist at all. There are also interesting consequences for the Anti de Sitter-Conformal Field Theory correspondence.