Doctoral Studies

Theoretical physics and astrophysics - Field

Brief description of field

Doctoral Studies in Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics are designed for students that have graduated from Physics and Astrophysics from various university faculties including the faculty of education. This programme is also suited for graduates of technology oriented universities that have a strong interest in physics and astrophysics. This study programme focuses on several key topics in the field of theoretical physics and astrophysics: In theoretical physics it focuses on the two current areas of quantum theory, one of which leads to the quantum theory of gravity (loops, strings and D-branes, ...) and the other leads to studying the borders between the classical and quantum world. In astrophysics, it focuses on the study of hot stars and stellar systems with hot components, especially the physics of stellar atmospheres of hot stars, stellar wind driven by radiation, and chemically peculiar stars. Another traditional area of astrophysical research includes study of variable stars, including the methodology of processing and interpreting observed material of all kinds. Another fields of studies are open clusters, dynamics and kinematics of galaxies and high-energy astrophysics.

Cooperating institutions

To keep a high standard of education, Faculty of Sciences cooperates with another institutions mainly via external supervisors and board memberships:

  • Astronomical Institute, Academy of Sciences of Czech Republic
  • Faculty of mathematics and physics, Charles University.

Profile of a typical graduate

A typical graduate of this doctoral programme has deep knowledge of theoretical physics and/or astrophysics, which allows him/her to deal with difficult physical and astrophysical problems, which includes: formulating the problem properly, finding its solution, using appropriate mathematical apparatuses for interpreting and presenting the results to the scientific community.

The graduate will find jobs as an independent researcher at the Academy of Science, at universities, and at other educational institutions conducting basic research such as observatories and planetariums. He/She can also find employment in educational institutions such as in secondary schools (high schools) or in various science related governmental positions.

Requirements for applicants

(A) Professional requirements: Excellent knowledge of the General and Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics course and awareness of their interconnectedness; Mastering the mathematical tools necessary for formulating and solving problems in theoretical physics or astrophysics; Topics explored in the entrance exam:

  • Common topics for Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics: Describing the temporal evolution of physical systems, examples. Key physics experiments, examples. Symmetry and its consequences, examples. Approximation methods used to describe physical systems and their development over time, examples.
  • Only for Theoretical Physics: Variation principles. Hilbert space. Feynman diagrams with applications in quantum electrodynamics. State sum, examples.
  • Only for Astrophysics: Exploring and diagnosing stars photometrically. Spectroscopic diagnosis of stars. Physics of stellar atmospheres. Stellar structure. The origin and evolution of stars and binaries. Physics of hot stars. Physics of variable stars. Physics of stellar systems and interstellar medium. High-energy physics.

(B) Language requirements: The ability to understand English written scientific text. The ability to write and orally communicate about specialized topics in English.

(C) Additional requirements: Discussion of the topic of PhD thesis.

Evaluation of entrance examination and necessary conditions for enrollment:

  • Part (A) ...  40 points of 60
  • Part (B) ...  20 points of 40
  • Part (C) ...  not evaluated

Study requirements and completion of studies

A typical duration of studies is 4 years. Minimum number of obtained credits is 240. The attendance is either regular or combined. The studies are finished by

  • state doctoral exam,
  • and by thesis defense.

The studies are ruled by the individual study plan and additional university rules. There are additional rules:

  • the attendance to DTPA seminar is mandatory,
  • the course “Pomoc při výuce “ is mandatory according to the recommendations of the supervisor,
  • the attendance to seminars and interviews is mandatory,
  • attendance of seminars of guests is mandatory according to the recommendations of the supervisor.

Individual Study Plan

Individual study plan is determined by the supervisor. There are several types of courses included in the plan:

  • courses of type A: general seminars and courses,
  • courses of type B: specialized seminars,
  • teaching at the Faculty of Science MU, usually preparing and teaching practical courses,
  • language courses,
  • a thorough study of literature in the field (especially literature related to the dissertation topic),
  • communication with researchers working on similar issues, engagement in teamwork,
  • obtaining original research results and publications in peer-reviewed journals,
  • preparation of PhD thesis.

Content and scope of the state doctoral exam, required knowledge

Conditions for the submission:

  • one half of the credits should be obtained at least,
  • all mandatory courses should be finished,
  • at least half of the credits connected with key courses should be received (determined by the supervisor),
  • language course finished,
  • it is possible to include a list of papers as a part of the submission.

General overview of theoretical physics (a substantial part of the first five volumes of Landau and Lifšice), and/or Astrophysics (within the scope of the textbook: An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, Addison-Wesley, 1996, by BW Carroll and DA Ostlie).

Detailed knowledge in areas that are directly related to the topic of the dissertation.

The state exam starts with a brief description of the scientific work of the student. The topics of the thesis are announced 4 weeks in advance.

Thesis requirements

  • The thesis should include a comprehensive and critical overview of the current state of the problems related to the dissertation topic.
  • The thesis must include original results presented clearly and in sufficient detail.
  • In part it can discuss the student’s already published work.
  • The work must be very clear about what are his/her own research results and ideas and what is from other studies.
  • The thesis must include a summary and prospects for further research in the area.

Examples of recent PhD theses

Aspects of Supersymmetry and Supergravity (work in progress, Mgr. Pavel Kočí)

The student will study connections between geometry and physics, using methods from supersymmetric quantum field theory.

Supervisor: Prof. Rikard von Unge, Ph.D.

 

Scattering amplitudes and geometry (work in progress, Mgr. Michal Pazderka)

The goal of dissertation work is to investigate and study various aspects of scattering amplitudes in quantum field theories related to the recent developments in twistor formulation, e.g. superconformal, dual superconformal and Yangian symmetries; BCFW-like recursive relations, on-and off-shell formulations, action and BRST formulations, and the amplituhedron.

Supervisor: Klaus Bering Larsen, Ph.D.

Models of hot star decretion disks (successful defense, Mgr. Ing. arch. Petr Kurfürst, Ph.D., https://is.muni.cz/auth/th/gb9yt/)

The equatorial rotation velocity may reach its critical value during the evolution of hot stars. This results in appearance of the outflowing disk. The aim of the thesis is a detaileld modelling of outflowing disks.
Literature:
• J. Krtička, S. Owocki, G. Meynet, Mass and angular momentum loss via decretion disks
• Okazaki, A. T. 2001, PASJ, 53, 119

Supervisor: Prof. Mgr. Jiří Krtička, Ph.D.

Characteristics of RR Lyrae type stars (successful defense, Mgr. Marek Skarka, Ph.D., https://is.muni.cz/auth/th/bdv3o/)

The aim of the work is a detailed study of short-periodic variables of RR Lyrae type. The Blažko effect will be studied in detail.

Supervisor: doc. RNDr. Miloslav Zejda, Ph.D.

Individual study plan

Individual study plan is prepared by the studen in cooperation with supervisor. It is prepared before the start of each semester. The plan consists of following items:

  • PhD thesis preparation: 120 - 160 credits.
  • Study of literature: 50 credits maximum.
  • “Teaching” course:  6 - 30 credits.
  • Preparation of journal paper: 10 – 20 credits.
  • Language course: either a classical course or oral or written conference presentation.
  • Foreign stay.
  • Special courses of type A: 10 - 15 credits.
  • Special courses of type B:  25 - 30 credit.

Summary table (an example of)

Course

credits

ending

Preparation of PhD thesis

130

z

Study of literature

15

z, k

Teaching

12

z

Preparation of paper

20

z

Language course

 

z, zk

Course of type A

15

k, zk, z

Course of type B

30

k, zk, z

Optional courses, foreign stay

12

k, zk, z

Total

240

 

An example of individual study plan

1st semester

credits

ending

Preparation of PhD thesis

5

z

Study of literature

6

z, k

Teaching

3

z

Preparation of a paper

--

 

Language course

--

 

Course of type A

6

k, zk, z

Course of type B

8

k, zk, z

Optional courses, foreign stay

2

k, zk, z

Total

30

 

 

2nd semester

credits

ending

Preparation of PhD thesis

10

z

Study of literature

4

z, k

Teaching

3

z

Preparation of a paper

--

 

Language course

--

 

Course of type A

5

k, zk, z

Course of type B

6

k, zk, z

Optional courses, foreign stay

2

k, zk, z

Total

30

 

 

3rd semester

credits

ending

Preparation of PhD thesis

10

z

Study of literature

3

z, k

Teaching

3

z

Preparation of a paper

--

 

Language course

2

z, zk

Course of type A

4

k, zk, z

Course of type B

6

k, zk, z

Optional courses, foreign stay

2

k, zk, z

Total

30

 

 

4th semester

credits

ending

Preparation of PhD thesis

13

z

Study of literature

2

z, k

Teaching

3

z

Preparation of a paper

4

z

Language course

4

z, zk

Course of type A

--

 

Course of type B

2

k, zk, z

Optional courses, foreign stay

2

k, zk, z

Total

30

 

 

5th semester

credits

ending

Preparation of PhD thesis

20

z

Study of literature

--

 

Teaching

--

 

Preparation of a paper

6

z

Language course

--

 

Course of type A

--

 

Course of type B

2

z

Optional courses, foreign stay

2

k, zk, z

Total

30

 

 

6th semester

credits

ending

Preparation of PhD thesis

26

z

Study of literature

--

 

Teaching

--

 

Preparation of a paper

--

 

Language course

--

 

Course of type A

--

 

Course of type B

2

z

Optional courses, foreign stay

2

z

Total

30

 

 

7th semester

credits

ending

Preparation of PhD thesis

24

z

Study of literature

--

 

Teaching

--

 

Preparation of a paper

4

z

Language course

--

 

Course of type A

--

 

Course of type B

2

z

Optional courses, foreign stay

--

 

Total

30

 

 

8th semester

credits

ending

Preparation of PhD thesis

22

z

Study of literature

--

 

Teaching

--

 

Preparation of a paper

6

z

Language course

--

 

Course of type A

--

 

Course of type B

2

z

Optional courses, foreign stay

--

z

Total

30

 

 

List of members of doctoral committee

List of supervisors

Commission for state doctoral exams and defenses

List of current doctoral topics

Department pages


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