The University of Southampton
STAG Research Centre

Gravity group research and PhD projects

Research conducted by the Southampton Gravity group focuses on three topics: General relativistic spacetimes around black holes and neutron stars, physics and astrophysics of neutron stars, and string-inspired gravity and holography.

Gravitational waves from black holes and neutron stars

General Relativity predicts the emission of gravitational waves during the inspiral and coalescence of systems of black holes and neutron stars. In order to facilitate the detection of gravitational waves from these sources and to extract information from the gravitational waves, detailed theoretical understanding of General Relativity and spacetimes around black holes and neutron stars is required. Members of the Gravity group study the gravitational collapse and formation of black holes, the dynamics of matter around black holes, and the gravitational radiation-reaction-driven merger of systems of neutron stars and stellar mass, intermediate mass, and supermassive black holes.

Associated staff members: Nils Andersson, Leor Barack, Carsten Gundlach, Ian Hawke, Wynn Ho, Ian Jones, James Vickers

Physics and astrophysics of neutron stars

Neutron stars are invaluable laboratories for probing the state of matter under extreme conditions, and observations of neutron stars provide complementary information to that obtained from particle accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider. Members of the Gravity group model the complex physics of neutron stars (including supranuclear physics with magnetohydrodynamics and exotic phases of matter like superfluids, superconductors, and deconfined quarks) and the observational signatures of these physics (for example as seen from radio and X-ray pulsars and those that will be found by gravitational wave detectors in the near future).

Associated staff members: Nils Andersson, Carsten Gundlach, Ian Hawke, Wynn Ho, Ian Jones, Andreas Schmitt

Holography and quantum gravity

Holography relates theories of gravity to theories without gravity in one less dimension, and this duality allows a completely new way of understanding both gravity and gauge theories. Members of the Gravity group are developing the holographic dictionary (which provides a translation between gravity theories and gauge theories) and applying holography to black hole physics, condensed matter systems, and cosmology.

Associated staff members: Oscar Dias, Andrew O'Bannon, Kostas Skenderis, Marika Taylor

PhD projects

Please contact Gravity group members for possible PhD projects in the above and related areas.


Some specific PhD projects can also be found at

Projects with Carsten Gundlach


As part of the STAG Research Centre, the Gravity group also works with colleagues in the Southampton Astronomy group and High Energy Physics group.


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