University of Surrey is offering a PhD Position in Astrophysics

University of Surrey
United Kingdom
Fecha limite/Deadline: 
The University of Surrey is offering a PhD Position in Astrophysics under the supervision of Dr Denis Erkal. Please find below the details of the project. If you are interested, please contact Dr. Erkal:

Project Title: Determining the mass and shape of the Milky Way’s dark matter halo with tidal streams

Project description: 

Tidal streams form as globular clusters and dwarf galaxies disrupt around our Galaxy. These streams roughly follow orbits, providing constraints on the shape of the Milky Way potential. In addition, tidal streams are sensitive to perturbations from satellites of the Milky Way, ranging from the most massive satellites like the LMC down to dark matter subhaloes too small to form stars in the early universe. The student will work on fitting tidal streams using data from a variety of surveys, including the upcoming Gaia Data Release 2, to measure the shape of the Milky Way's dark matter halo. By using streams with a range of distances and orientations, the student will measure the mass and shape of the dark halo as a function of distance, while also constraining the perturbations from the largest satellites. These precise measurements will test one of the key predictions of Lambda Cold Dark Matter, that the dark halo around the Milky Way should be triaxial. Furthermore, the measurement of the Milky Way mass will be invaluable for understanding the Milky Way in a cosmological context and comparing local observations to simulations. Finally, the difference between the stream models and the observed streams will be used to search for the expected perturbations from low mass dark matter subhaloes.

About the Institution: 

The University of Surrey is one of the top professional, scientific and technological universities in the UK. Surrey has a 90% overall satisfaction from the National Student Survey 2016 and a Gold Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). 

 The UK rankings at a glance are:

•  5th in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2017

• 10th in the Guardian University Guide 2018

• 10th in the Times Higher Education Table of Tables 2017 

• 13th in the Complete University Guide 2018


The Department of Physics is home to high-quality research activities and outstanding teaching. The teaching in the department is research-led and aims to give students flexibility.

The astrophysics group within Physics was created in 2013. The research is focused on solving key problems in modern astrophysics: How do stars and galaxies form? What are dark matter and dark energy? How did the Milky Way form and evolve? And how did supermassive black holes form? We seek to answer these questions by comparing multi-scale numerical simulations, from dense collisional stellar systems to the Universe as a whole to a host of observational data.  

The staff expertise is in computational/theoretical and observational astrophysics.

We operate a teaching and outreach telescope on Campus.