We have currently one open PhD position. Projects for PhD and Master students are available in the following areas:
1. Chemodynamical history of the Milky Way (PhD or Master Projects)
The Milky Way is the only galaxy whose formation history can be studied star by star. It is currently the focus of extraordinary observational efforts, including both ESA's cornerstone Gaia satellite mission, as well as a multitude of ground-based surveys which are already returning unprecedented data for large numbers of stars. Our group have been at the forefront of clarifying the mass distribution and dynamical structure of the Milky Way's bulge, bar, disk, and dark matter halo from such data.
We have shown that the Milky Way is a typical barred galaxy and that it has a low dark matter fraction in the bulge. The logical next step is to understand the chemodynamical structure in the bulge and disk: where do we find the most metal-rich stars in the Galaxy? Where the stars with high alpha-abundances that formed rapidly in the early phases of the Milky Way? We will develop chemodynamical models to determine the orbit distributions of stars with different abundances, and thereby constrain the processes by which the Milky Way's bulge, bar, and disk were made.
Keywords: galaxy formation and evolution, chemodynamics, Milky Way, Galactic surveys, stellar parameters
2. Dark matter mass distribution in the Milky Way (PhD or Master Projects)
Our current models of the Galaxy show that the data prefer a dark matter density profile with a shallow cusp or core in the central few kpc. The goal of this project it to obtain tighter constraints on the slope of the central dark matter cusp and the flattening of the inner dark halo, and thereby constrain the nature of dark matter. This requires including additional survey data in the modelling, as well as some code development in order to constrain the dark halo parameters during the modelling of the data.
Keywords: galactic dynamics, baryonic and dark matter in galaxies, nature of dark matter, made-to-measure dynamical modelling
These projects are suitable for candidates who enjoy working with computational models and applying them to modern large data sets. In case of interest please contact Prof. Dr. Ortwin Gerhard. For more information, see the Webpages of the MPE Dynamics Group, in particular:
* Structure, dynamics, and origin of the Milky Way
* Spiral galaxy bulges
* Made-to-measure particle models for galaxies