Chemical complexity in planet-forming disks


Contact Dr Catherine Walsh to discuss this project further informally

Project description

Complex organic molecules have recently been detected in planet-forming disks around young stars. These detections were only enabled by the superior sensitivity of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and show that the precursors of prebiotic material in forming planetary systems are accessible with remote sensing. This project will follow on from these exciting detections by exploring the chemistry of complex organic molecules in the comet-forming regions of protoplanetary disks using observations and models. Results from models will be compared with upcoming data yet to be released from the (now perished) Rosetta mission and new data from ALMA on the abundance and distribution of complex molecules in nearby disks. This project would be suitable for a PhD candidate interested in astrochemistry, astrobiology, and planetary system formation, and who is seeking a computationally-focussed PhD project in a high-impact research area. The candidate will join a small research group active in astrochemical modelling and ALMA observations.

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with, or expecting, a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1) in a relevant discipline, a Master's degree in a relevant discipline, or both.

How to apply

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is 'Chemical complexity in planet-forming disks' as well as  Dr Catherine Walsh as your proposed supervisor.

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates.  All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office