Student Research Opportunities
This page lists research opportunities in KIPAC for new students. Click on a faculty member's name for more information.
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Multiple positions available. Current research focuses on studying dark matter dynamics with new numerical techniques which possibly have applications in plasma physics. Other topics available on early cosmological magnetic fields, galaxy formation, and star and black hole formation. Please come talk to me to chat about any of this or other topics you may be interested in.
Steve Allen's research interests are focused on galaxies and galaxy clusters, using multi-wavelength observations to probe the astrophysics of these systems, and using statistical samples to probe the natures of dark matter, dark energy and other fundamental physics. Current group members and their interests are described at http://www.stanford.edu/group/xoc/ . Graduate student research opportunities are expected for 2011/2012.
Roger Blandford and his colleagues have broad interests in particle astrophysics and cosmology. These include studies of gravitational lensing, compact objects (black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs) and cosmic rays. The topics range from pure theory through phenomenological studies to analysis of observational data. Some of the research is strongly computational but plenty is not. At present Roger has no vacancies but is happy to talk with students and try to help them find rotation and long term advisers.
Elliott Bloom spends most of his research time working on the analysis of Fermi-LAT data for science projects in the areas of the search for dark matter and new physics, and understanding the gamma - ray diffuse background. Professor Bloom has room for more graduate students and many ideas for projects that could lead to a thesis.
Opportunities exist in Pat Burchat's research group to contribute to fundamental physics through the investigation of dark energy, with existing astronomical data sets and through the design and construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), and the study of scientific opportunities with the LSST. Members of the Stanford group are currently analyzing an extensive sample of high-quality optical images of galaxy clusters, using gravitational lensing to measure cluster masses and constrain cosmology. For the LSST project, the group will focus on the study of cosmological probes for investigating dark energy, and the systematic uncertainties that will limit the sensitivity of these probes. The group will contribute to efforts to minimize these uncertainties. This may involve working with the LSST camera or data management teams, or on improving the photon-level LSST simulation, or working with existing astronomical images to better understand the effects in real data.
Opportunities for research projects in observational cosmology are available for the 2011/2012 academic year. Projects will focus on preparations for the Dark Energy Survey (DES) that is scheduled for “first light” in the Fall of 2012. DES is a broad ground-based optical survey that will use the 4m Blanco telescope located in Northern Chile (ref: https://www.darkenergysurvey.org/ ). The scientific goals are measurements of cosmological parameters through the use of gravitational lensing, studies of clusters and large scale structure of galaxy populations. Projects include development of analysis techniques with simulated DES data, and studies with existing data from presently operating telescopes. Rotation projects can lead to continued work through the summer, and to thesis topics with DES.
Main research effort on search for dark matter in the form of WIMPs or weakly interacting massive particles. Rotation projects available: CDMS II and the SuperCDMS 25 kg Experiment
Our group builds instrumentation to observe the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation (CMB) at millimeter wavelengths. The CMB is a virtually pristine relic of conditions in the universe approximately 400,000 years after the Big Bang and by studying it we can test our understanding of the laws of physics in the extreme conditions that occurred in the first few moments after the Big Bang. Our research uses telescopes located at some of the best sites in the world for millimeter wavelength astronomy, including the South Pole, the Chilean Andes, and Mauna Kea in Hawaii. We are now accepting applications from current graduate students for Spring Quarter rotations. The following types of work are available:
Stefan Funk's research interests are related to High-energy Astrophysics, in particular Gamma-ray astronomy in the GeV and TeV energy band to understand particle acceleration in astrophysical sources and dark matter annihilation cross sections. A research opportunity exists for student to work on various topics related to a) data analysis and interpretation of data from the Fermi-LAT (in the energy range between 20 MeV and 100 GeV, a previously largely unexplored window of the electromagnetic spectrum), in particular on the low-energy response of the instrument, the Fermi bubbles or on the Crab Nebula flares. b) development of identification strategies of GeV and TeV gamma-ray sources using Multi-frequency data from radio to X-rays and c) optimization studies or hardware development for the next-generation future ground-based TeV gamma-ray instrument CTA (operating in the energy range between 30 GeV and 100 TeV). Read more about the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GLAST/main/index.html , or specifically about the Large Area Telescope on board Fermi: http://www-glast.stanford.edu . Read more about the Cherenkov Telescope Array: http://www.cta-observatory.org .
Our group does research relevant to the understanding of fundamental particles and interactions. The tools we use are borrowed from AMO, nuclear and particle physics. We are operating the largest double-beta decay experiment in the world (EXO-200) that is producing high sensitivity results on the mass of neutrinos and on the question of whether or not neutrinos are described by a 4-component wave function like all other fermions (neutrinos may be “Majorana” particles, described by 2-component wave functions, instead of Dirac particles.) Also within the EXO program we are developing a new method to extend the sensitivity of a future experiment. This work involves the identification of the Ba atom produced in the double-beta decay of Xe using AMO techniques. We just started a new program to investigate the nature of gravity at a scale near 1 micron. To do this we will use submicron size quartz beads trapped in laser fields in vacuum, with several novel techniques to apply the gravitational force and detect its influence. We also have a program to develop imaging detectors for gamma-ray astronomy as well as novel radiation detectors for application in homeland security and medical physics. We have openings for new graduate students in (almost) all of the projects above. Current Graduate Students and Projects: Maria Montero Diez ( Ba atom identification/transport ), Russell Neilson ( EXO-200 data analysis ), Kevin O’Sullivan ( EXO-200 data analysis ), Karl Twelker ( Ba atom identification/transport ).
My research group is primarily working on the design and development of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), and its application to research in fundamental cosmology. Rotations students joining my group can help to develop laboratory prototypes of key LSST subsystems, and/or participate in simulation and data analysis efforts in the study of weak lensing systematics. There are a number of thesis opportunities in these areas.
I work on particle acceleration and interaction in astronomical environment related to future GLAST-LAT observations. This work involves basic particle physics and astrophysics as well as computational skill using python and numarray. I will be happy to accept one rotation student who is interested in acquiring computational skill for astrophysics. Experience in computation is welcome but not required.
One or two research positions available in Cosmic Microwave Background instrumentation, observation, and data analysis. Both theoretically-oriented and experimentally-oriented students are welcome to contact me.
Greg Madejski is currently looking for students for both rotation projects, and longer-term research leading to a PhD thesis. Greg's research interests are mainly in extragalactic astrophysics. This includes (1) studies of active galactic nuclei, powered by release of gravitational energy onto massive black holes, and an associated formation and evolution of relativistic jets; and (2) studies of clusters of galaxies, and in particular the processes responsible for the heating of the X-ray emitting intra-cluster gas. Besides taking advantage of data from the Fermi Gamma-ray Observatory, Greg is involved in planning for observations with NuSTAR, a new NASA satellite, sensitive in the hard X-ray band, to be launched in the Winter / Spring of 2012: this will provide an opportunity for students to have early access to the fresh, high quality data obtained in this poorly explored spectral regime.
Michelson's group has interests in relativistic astrophysics ranging from gravitational wave detection to the study of neutron stars and black holes using multi-wavelength observations from radio to high-energy gamma-rays. The current focus of the group is on use of data from the Large Area Telescope (LAT) on the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Stanford is the lead institution for the LAT. Currently, positions are available for graduate students to join the group.
I will be able to take on a student this Fall quarter. The research will be in general area of High Energy astrophysics but specifically on particle acceleration in astrophysical sources with application in clusters of galaxies or in accretion disks in active galactic nuclei.
Our group studies a variety of topics in 'high energy' astrophysics and cosmology. At present our biggest need is for students to help with our study of gamma-ray blazars with GLAST. This involves observations at a range of energies (Radio-IR-optical-X-ray --> GLAST!) and theoretical model building. The goals are to study the formation of powerful jets by super-massive black holes and to use these sources to study black hole and galaxy evolution through cosmic time. Some of this work is joint with Prof. Michelson. We also study high energy processes around neutron stars and there may be rotation opportunities in this area. Check with me or my students to see what is hot at the moment.
I have research opportunities in observation cosmology, in particular the study of dark energy using images from the upcoming Dark Energy Survey (DES). DES is a ground based wide field survey, to collect images over 5000 sq degrees with a new 550 Mega-pixel camera for the Blanco 4 meter telescope, with first light in 2012. My scientific interests include the study of Dark Energy with both galaxy clusters and weak gravitational lensing. Possible projects could range from searching for galaxy clusters using the weak gravitational lensing signature to the development of new methods to characterize the telescope+camera point spread function. I also have research opportunities for students interested in astronomical instrumentation, as preparation for the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope camera.
My research group is primarily focused on the instrumentation for the focal plane and cryostat in the camera of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). R&D projects for students would involve prototyping of precision alignment systems, metrology, constructing instrumentation for optical contamination studies, and thermal modeling.
Although I am Emeritus, I am willing to consider supervising one or two students. However, I cannot provide direct financial support. My research areas (theoretical) are probes of black holes and other compact objects, gravitational radiation, theories of gravitation, and cosmology.
Theoretical cosmology and astrophysics. Galaxy formation, large-scale structure. Constraints on cosmological parameters, dark matter, dark energy. Numerical simulations, large galaxy surveys.