Prof Benjamin Stappers - postgraduate opportunities
There are presently two exciting projects for which I am interested in having postgraduates come and work with me.
- LOFAR is the first of the next generation radio telescopes and provides an exciting opportunity for anyone interested in becoming involved in radio astronomy. I am leading a project to search the whole northern sky for new radio pulsars with LOFAR. The unprecedented sensitivity of LOFAR in the relatively poorly studied frequency range of 30 - 40 MHz means that we expect to find more than 1000 new radio pulsars and transient radio emitting neutron stars. This project will mean that you would become a full member of the search team and would be involved in the discovery and subsequent follow up of many new pulsars. As we expect that many of these systems will be unique it provides a great chance to study these systems and use them as probes of their surroundings and also to study the physics of binary systems and gravity.
- The European Pulsar Timing Array project aims to use radio pulsar timing data from all 5 radio telescopes in Europe doing pulsar timing. This is a unique data set as it combines data from the larget collection of 100-m class radio telescopes in the world. These data will be used to try and make the first ever detection of gravitational waves! Detecting gravitational waves is the next step in testing theories of gravity and as such is vital for our understanding of physics. This project would involved using the existing and future timing data to optimally search for the stochastic background of gravitational waves from the inspiral of massive black holes early in the universe.