Contact:  t.budd[AT]science.ru.nlLocation:  Nijmegen, The Netherlands
We are looking for:
a PhD candidate who is curious about the fundamental description of the gravitational force and the structure of space-time and excited about developing the mathematical and numerical methods necessary to build and analyse models of microscopic space-time geometry.
From submillimetre to cosmological scales, the gravitational force is accurately described by the dynamical geometry of space-time, governed by Einstein’s classical laws of general relativity. Inevitably these laws lose their validity when space-time is examined at extremely small length scales, where quantum effects come into play. Constructing a quantum theory of space-time geometry that is consistent and predictive in this regime is a central aim of research in quantum gravity. This is a challenging problem in many ways. Under the hypothesis that space-time geometry is fundamental and meaningful at arbitrarily small scales, such a theory must be able to handle superpositions of geometries that are wildly curved by quantum fluctuations. This requires a mathematical basis that is yet to be fully developed.
During your PhD under the supervision of Dr T. Budd, you will actively develop this basis by combining insights from various research areas: lattice simulations of quantum gravity, the mathematics of random geometry, as well as renormalisation group methods in quantum field theory. The position is funded as part of the NWO VIDI grant “Quantum Geometry: space-time at the tiniest of scales”. As is standard for PhD programmes in the Netherlands, this position will carry a light teaching load, amounting to about 10% of your work time.
* A Master’s degree in Physics or Mathematics, including courses on General Relativity and Quantum Field Theory as a minimum.
* A strong mathematical background and/or good programming skills.
* Good command of spoken and written English.
You will join the Gravity section of the High Energy Physics department at Radboud University. The Gravity section currently consists of six staff scientists and about twice as many PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers, with research topics ranging from black holes and gravitational waves to lattice quantum gravity, the functional renormalisation group and random geometry. We have close ties to gravitational research in both the Astrophysics department (including a large involvement in the Event Horizon Telescope) and Mathematics department (including mathematical relativity and noncommutative geometry), with whom we share the Institute for Mathematics, Astrophysics and Particle Physics (IMAPP). Our diversity and broad expertise in gravity combined with many regular activities provide a stimulating environment for young researchers.