Master student project suggestions

Astrophysics projects

Jesús Zavala Franco, Associate Professor

Research interests: dark matter physics, cosmological structure formation (theory and numerical simulations), galaxy formation and evolution

  • Phase space clustering of stars in dwarf galaxies. Analysing the stellar kinematics of the smallest (dwarf) galaxies in the Universe is one of the most promising avenues to elucidate the nature of dark matter. By being embedded in a dominant dark matter halo, stars in dwarf galaxies act as kinematic tracers of the hidden dark matter distribution and could potentially help us distinguish among the predictions offered by distinct dark matter models. In this project, the student will use a novel 2-point statistics in phase space (based on Zavala and Afshordi 2016) to analyse the clustering of stars in nearby dwarf galaxies and confront these observations with mock “galaxies” generated from controlled numerical simulations.
  • Supernova-driven galactic-outflows. Supernovae (SNe) are a well known source of energy/momentum deposition into the Interstellar Medium (ISM), which might be responsible for driving galactic winds (outflows). There has been significant progress on the theoretical and numerical modelling of this process at the extreme of the dynamical scales: the (small-scale) Supernova-Remnant (SNR)-ISM interaction and the (large-scale) galactic wind impact on the properties of the host galaxy. What remains comparatively less studied is the link between these scales. In this project, the student will make an inventory of the energy/momentum budget from SNRs in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC; where a large sample of SNRs is available) to check whether or not our current understanding of energy deposition at small scales is self-consistent with the SNe-driven galactic outflow observed in the LMC.

Condensed matter physics projects

Viðar Guðmundsson, Professor

  • Various aspects of time-dependent non equilibrium transport
    of electrons through nanoscale electron systems in photon
    cavities. Effects of interactions system shapes, and external
    magnetic field.
  • Linear and non-linear optical properties of interacting electrons
    in systems of reduced dimensions, quantum dots, wires and
    two-dimensional electron gas in magnetic fields.

All projects rely on analytical and numerical calculations using parallel processing power of clusters through FORTRAN, OpenMP, and CUDA for GPU-processing. The mixture of analytical and numerical methods stems from the use of functional spaces where possible rather than grids.

High-energy physics projects

Research interests: quantum gravity, string theory, holography, strongly coupled quantum field theory, and theoretical cosmology

Black strings in five dimensions and AdS/CFT

The AdS/CFT correspondence gives a precise holographic map (or duality) between a Quantum Field Theory (QFT) and gravitational dynamics in a spacetime called Anti de Sitter (AdS) space in one dimension higher. The holographic duality is a rare example of a strong–weak duality, i.e. if the QFT is strongly coupled, the dual gravitational dynamics is weakly coupled. The gold standard of the AdS/CFT correspondence is the duality between N = 4 Supersymmetric Yang-Mills (SYM) theory in four dimensions and ten-dimensional string theory on the AdS5 x S5 background. In this project, the student will use five-dimensional supergravity to construct novel black string solutions in type IIB string theory in order to study new deformations of N=4 SYM through the AdS/CFT correspondence.

Research interests: quantum gravity, (non-relativistic) holography, black holes, hydrodynamics

Black holes and de Sitter spacetime

What sets de Sitter apart from the other two maximal symmetric spacetimes — Anti-de Sitter and Minkoswki — is the fact that there is always a cosmological horizon present. In the seminal work by Gibbons and Hawking it was shown that this horizon has an associated entropy and radiation, in many ways just like black holes. However, in contrast, a black hole is an object which gives the associated entropy a suggestive interpretation in terms of microstates and this is lacking for a cosmological horizon, especially since it is observer dependent. In this project, the student will use general relativity and semi-classical methods to understand intricacies of de Sitter spacetime and furthermore study the black holes that can reside within de Sitter spacetime.

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