Developing astrophysical predictions to interpret gravitational-wave data

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: School of Physics and Astronomy


Gravitational-wave detections allow us to probe the strong-gravity regime as never before. Many aspects of the theory of binary compact objects (black holes and neutron stars) can now be tested with this new type of observation. In particular, we will ask:
- What details can we infer from gravitational-wave detections of binary mergers?
- How can we use these details to study the formation and evolution of compact binaries?
- Can we determine the populations of compact objects formed in these evolutionary channels?
- Do the observational inferences agree with our predictions?

We will approach these questions by forming theoretical models of binary dynamics based on approximate solutions of the two-body problem in general relativity. We will use these models to make new predictions of effects that occur during the inspirals of compact binaries and to determine whether they will be observable by current and future gravitational-wave detectors. We will also verify our predictions computationally, by for example performing numerical evolutions of binary black holes. As the number of gravitational wave detections increases we may also be able to test our results and their astrophysical consequences on real data.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/T505948/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023
2322486 Studentship ST/T505948/1 15/09/2019 15/03/2023 Matthew Mould