Yr Athro Patrick Sutton

Professor Patrick Sutton

Teaching Quality Officer
Head of Gravitational Physics Group

School of Physics and Astronomy

+44 (0)29 2087 4043
N/1.09, Queen's Buildings - North Building, 5 The Parade, Heol Casnewydd, Caerdydd, CF24 3AA
Available for postgraduate supervision

Mae'r cynnwys hwn ar gael yn Saesneg yn unig.

My research focuses on the detection and study of gravitational waves -- ripples in the fabric of spacetime. These are produced by some of the most violent events in the Universe, such as the collisions of black holes, the explosive deaths of massive stars, and perhaps the Big Bang itself. The detection of gravitational waves by the LIGO observatories has opened a new window on nature, and is allowing us to probe the behaviour of matter and test Einstein's theory of gravity under extreme conditions that cannot (and should not!) be replicated on Earth. My particular specialties are the detection and interpretation of weak signals in noisy data. I am a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, and have served on various national and international advisory committees on gravitational waves and astroparticle physics.

I undertook my graduate studies at the University of Alberta, studying the renormalisation of quantum field theories in curved spacetimes, and graduated in 2000.  I then spent two and a half years as a postdoctoral fellow in the gravitational physics group at Penn State University, followed by a four-year stint as a senior postdoctoral fellow and then a senior research fellow at the California Institute of Technology.  I joined the faculty of Cardiff University as a senior lecturer in June 2007, and was promoted to Reader in 2012 and then Personal Chair in 2016.

Honours and awards

Head, Gravitational Physics Group, Cardiff University
Chair, STFC Particle Astrophysics Advisory Panel (to 2016)
Member, Astroparticle Physics European Consortium (ApPEC) - Scientific Advisory Commitee

PX4224 - Advanced General Relativity and Gravitational Waves (2017-18)

PX3241 - Particle Physics and Special Relativity (2013-16)
PX4124 - Introduction to General Relativity (2014-15)
PX3237 - Nuclear and Particle Physics (2012-13)
PX4115 - General Relativity and Relativistic Astrophysics (2007-13)

I have also served as the Teaching Quality Officer for PHYSX since 2013.

Research interests

Violent relativistic events such as the collisions of black holes or neutron stars, supernovae, and gamma-ray bursts, can produce powerful bursts of gravitational waves.  A common feature of these systems is that they are difficult to model, involving complex physics of matter at nuclear densities and nonlinear general relativistic effects.  Gravitational waves therefore provide a probe of the rich physics of these systems.  As a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, I am developing strategies to detect gravitational-wave bursts, and creating techniques for locating the sources on the sky, extracting their waveforms from noisy data, and fitting them to simulations and theoretical models.  In particular, I focus on the detection of gravitational waves associated with gamma-ray bursts and supernovae using data from the LIGO, GEO, and Virgo detectors.


Current PhD students: Iain Dorrington, Ronaldas Macas, Scott Coughlin, Vassilis Skliris.

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • gravitational waves
  • signal detection techniques

Goruchwyliaeth gyfredol

Iain Dorrington

Research student

Ronaldas Macas

Research student

Vasileios Skliris

Research student

Scott Coughlin

Research student

Past projects

  • Supervisor for Laura Nuttall - Electromagnetic Follow-Up of Gravitational Wave Candidates (PhD, 2013).
  • Supervisor for Mark Edwards - On the search for intermediate duration gravitational waves using the spherical harmonic basis (PhD, 2014)
  • Supervisor for Thomas Adams - Detector Characterisation and Searches for Gravitational Waves Using GEO 600 (PhD, 2014)
  • Supervisor for Scott Coughlin - Gravitational waves searches associated with galactic core-collapse supernova (MPhil, 2015)