Pulsars as a cosmological tool

Radio Pulsars, rapidly rotating highly magnetised neutron stars, have many applications in astronomy and cosmology. Pulsars emit shots of light with an extremely precise cadence; their phenomenal timing stability has been used to test General Relativity and its extensions, constraining the equation of state of super-dense matter, and as natural detectors of gravitational waves. Moreover, pulsar timing can be used to test the properties of cosmological Dark Matter, ultra-light particles, fifth forces, fundamental physics such a Lorentz violation, and even discover new planets in the solar system or extra-solar planetary systems [1,2,3]. Pulsar astronomy and cosmology will be revolutionised in the next decade thanks to the data that the new SKA will collect, and will be a very active field of research [4].

We seek a PhD student interested in working on any of the many cosmological and particle-physics applications of pulsar timing from a theoretical perspective. These include the study of alternative theories of gravity and their effects on isolated and binary pulsars, the physics of light propagation from pulsars to Earth, applications of pulsar timing for Dark Matter or fifth forces, and even using pulsars to map the Galactic and extra-Galactic magnetic field.

References:

[1] Binary and millisecond pulsars, https://arxiv.org/abs/arXiv:0811.0762

[2] Eccentric binary millisecond pulsars, https://arxiv.org/abs/0907.3219

[3] Review on tests of General Relativity and modified gravity using pulsar timing, https://arxiv.org/abs/1905.13720

[4] Pulsar science with the Square Kilometer Array, https://arxiv.org/abs/1711.01910