Dr Samantha Oates

Lecturer in Astrophysics

PhD Supervision Interests

Gamma-ray Bursts in the Era of Gravitational Waves Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are brief, intense flashes of gamma-rays that are accompanied by longer lasting emission in the X-ray to radio wavelengths. The duration of the gamma-ray emission may be as short as a few milliseconds or may last for as long as a few hundred seconds, during which the GRB ‘out-shines’ all objects in the known universe. GRBs are divided, based on the duration of their gamma-ray emission, into two classes 'long' and 'short', which are associated, respectively, with the collapse of massive stars or the mergers of two compact objects (either two neutron stars or a neutron star and black hole). Short GRBs have been associated with gravitational waves. The search for the electromagnetic counterpart (EM), the GRB afterglow or kilonova, of gravitational wave (GW) events has lead to large areas of sky to be observed leading to the detection of a variety of serendipitous optical/UV transients that are considered contaminants from EM searches to GW events, which may be interesting transients in their own right. Some open questions in this area of research are: What are the environments GRBs explode in to? What are the central engines and the structure of the jets? Have GRBs or their environments evolved with cosmological time? Can GRBs and their correlations be useful as cosmological probes? What are the optical/UV contaminants in the searches for the EM counterparts to GWs? The PhD student will have the opportunity to explore these types of questions. They will be able to join international collaborations such as Swift, LSST, STARGATE, and ENGRAVE. Please contact Dr Samantha Oates for further information. This PhD project represents just one component of the research performed by the wider Astrophysics group at Lancaster University. Our PhD projects are offered on a competitive basis and are subject to availability of funding. For more general information about PhD study in Physics at Lancaster please contact our postgraduate admissions staff at py-pgadmiss@lancaster.ac.uk.