Supermassive black holes through cosmic time: Exploiting the era of Big Data in astronomy

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


How do supermassive black holes form? How are they influencing and are influenced by their host galaxies? The 2020s will see a see change in how we tackle the big questions in astronomy. With the advent of the Vera Rubin Observatory's Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST), the entire sky will be observed within 2-3 days in several optical bands to unprecedented depth over a total span of 10 years. We will be able to study the evolution of galaxies with samples containing billions of objects. At the same time, the repeat observations will provide us with the dynamic picture of the growth of supermassive black holes in the centre of these galaxies. In Southampton, we are leading several LSST-related research activities on galaxy evolution and active galactic nuclei (AGN). The key to solving these questions with the vast amount of data becoming available soon is knowledge of techniques to handle, analyse, and interpret them - the "Big Data Challenge in Astronomy." Dr Sebastian Hoenig and Dr Manda Banerji are offering a PhD studentship as part of the Centre of Doctoral Training (CDT) DISCnet. The student will be working on multi-wavelength surveys, including the Southampton-led VISTA Extragalactic Infrared Legacy Survey VEILS, and will prepare and exploit LSST and supporting survey (including 4MOST) data. This will range from compiling and analysing LSST pre-cursor data to leading spectroscopic follow-up observations of targets of interest. The student will benefit from the A-graded training and research environment, including residential courses in Machine Learning, Statistics, Big Data, and Parallel programming on High-Performance Computers.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/P006760/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2024
2488912 Studentship ST/P006760/1 24/09/2020 30/09/2024 Lewis Matthew MacLeod
ST/S505705/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2022
2488912 Studentship ST/S505705/1 24/09/2020 30/09/2024 Lewis Matthew MacLeod