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Deadline: 2017-06-29
Location: Cambridge, UK

4 PhD studentships at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology, University of Cambridge, UK

Applications are invited for PhD projects at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.

Project 1: Fundamental physics from gravitational lensing of the CMB

The CMB is gravitationally lensed along its path to us and this signal contains information about early universe physics, the properties of neutrinos and dark energy, and dark matter distributions. The study of CMB lensing at high precision is therefore crucial for the success of future CMB cosmology. This studentship offers a leading role in this exciting new field at the interface of theoretical and observational cosmology. The research can span both novel theoretical development and innovative, computationally intensive data analysis for AdvancedACT and Simons Observatory.

Project 2: Investigating methods for optimal estimation of correlation functions on incomplete domains.

Realistic cosmological data sets have a restricted domain because of experimental effects and foregrounds. This means transforming to harmonic space to find correlation functions is complicated because harmonics are no longer orthogonal. This leads to mode coupling which increases error bars on cosmological observables. Recently we discovered that inpainting of masked regions significantly reduced this coupling allowing for almost optimal estimation of CMB power spectra. This project will apply this methodology to Planck CMB data producing new parameter constraints and then generalize to other data sets like galaxy surveys.

Project 3: Halo clustering and galaxy surveys

Galaxy and weak lensing surveys provide an unprecedented map of the late-time galaxy and matter distribution, which can be used to constrain fundamental physics. This requires an accurate understanding of the non-linearities in the matter distribution and the mapping from the matter to the galaxy formation sites. The latter can be achieved by studying the clustering of peaks in the initial Gaussian field and following the subsequent evolution using perturbation theory. This project will apply this to observational redshift space and statistics beyond two-point functions, like the bispectrum.

Project 4: Detecting new particles in the sky

This proposal will develop the tools to constrain signatures from massive particles in CMB maps.. Such particles are hypothesized in string theory and they have a well determined hierarchy. Interactions of these particles with the inflaton lead to unique signatures in the CMB, including sourcing non-Gaussianities that can be observed in temperature and polarisation measurements. The main outcome of this project will be the first analysis looking for massive particles in CMB polarisation data.

These studentships are part of new STFC Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Intensive Science. The four-year tenure includes training courses in the first year and a flexible six month placement with industrial partners. Applicants should have a masters in mathematics or physics (majoring in theoretical physics or astrophysics) and should be UK or EU nationals. Further information is available at the group website and preliminary enquiries can be made to contact potential supervisors through James Parke gr-secretary[AT]

Please submit a formal PhD application to Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at and send an expression of interest email to grad-administrator[AT] explaining which studentship you are interested in and why.

Closing date: 29th June 2017.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received. Offers may be made before the closing date.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity. The Department particularly welcomes applications from women.