Institute of Astronomy

PhD Studentship - The Geology of Rocky Exoplanets

Published on 12/12/2017 
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
Salary: 
Stipend of £14,553 per annum
Starting Date: 
October 2018
Tenure: 
3.5 years

The Geology of Rocky Exoplanets

Dr. Amy Bonsor

Two Royal Society fully funded PhD Studentships (EU + UK students)

More than 300 rocky exoplanets have been discovered in recent years and in the next decades we will detect hundreds more. Are these rocky planets similar or radically different to the Earth? The history of our own planet Earth is dominated by geological processes and the aim of these PhD projects is to study the geology of these other worlds. In doing so we open a new frontier in our understanding of exoplanets, made possible by a unique set of observations.

Following their luminous life times, the majority of stars, including the Sun, become small, faint objects, known as white dwarfs, which provide a unique opportunity to study the composition and geology of exoplanetary material. Metallic species such as iron and magnesium from rocky planetary bodies show up in the spectra of white dwarfs that otherwise possess pure hydrogen or helium atmospheres. Observations of the white dwarf atmospheres can be used to study what rocky planets are made from, as well as providing evidence of geological processes in exoplanets such as core formation.

The PhD projects will use a mixture of theory, linked strongly to observations, to better understand how planetary material arrives in the atmospheres of white dwarfs, how these observations can be used to inform an understanding of geology in exoplanetary systems and what they mean for the properties of the population of rocky exoplanets in the Galaxy.

Application Information: 

Please follow the instructions given on the IoA's admissions page you can then apply for the PhD in Astronomy on the Graduate Admissions website

To apply for one of the studentships, include the text "I wish to be considered for one of the Royal Society studentships with Amy Bonsor" in Your Statement of Interest [Course specific questions section] of the application form.

It is also possible to be considered for an STFC-funded studentship simultaneously. To be considered for both include the text "I wish to be considered for one of the Royal Society studentships with Amy Bonsor and an STFC studentship" in Your Statement of Interest [Course specific questions section] of the application form.

Application Deadline Date: 
31 January 2018
Page last updated: 12 December 2017 at 14:27