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Dr Hong Qi

Dr Hong Qi

Research Associate
Gravity Exploration Institute

School of Physics and Astronomy


(This is an update in May 2022. I moved to work at Louisiana State University at the end of March 2022.)

I am a research associate investigating gravitational waves in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) and the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) community in the Gravity Exploration Institute at Cardiff University. I am also collaborating within the UK-China Gravitational-wave Excellence through Alliance Training (GrEAT) network.

Gravitational waves were the last prediction of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. They were first directly detected in 2015 by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). The signal was named GW150914, and it was produced by the collision of two black holes about 1.3 billion years ago. Since then, LSC have detected tens of gravitational wave signals from the merger of compact objects, specifically black holes and neutron stars. An unprecedented signal among them was GW170817 because it was also observed across the electromagnetic spectrum which made it the first multi-messenger observation, and opened the era of multi-messenger astronomy.

My research interests are in several areas of gravitional wave astronomy. In Cardiff I am interested particularly in the fast and accurate gravitational wave inference and the astrophysics and cosmomolgy therein. LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA has been detecting gravitational waves about once per week in its most recent O3 observating run. More frequent detections are expected in LVK's future observations and in LISA's observations when it turns on in space in 2030s. Therefore, it is crutial to search for the gravitational waves fast and accurately. 



At the end of March 2022, I moved to work at Louisiana State University as a Senior Postdoctoral Researcher. I was a Research Associate at the Gravity Exploration Institute. I received my Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2018, under Prof. Patrick Brady. My Master's in Astrophysics was in 2011 from the National Astronomical Observatories of China (Beijing). Originally I was from a beautiful coastal city Weihai (威海) in China. It was an interesting coincidence that I moved to study and work in places whose names also start with the sound "wei (威)" in Chinese, i.e., Wisconsin and Wales. 

Honours and awards

Seleted Grants:
  • Resource Allocation Competitions of Compute Canada, Apr 2021-2024
    • Co-Investigator, in charge of reduced order quadrature data to support the LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA(LVK) fourth (O4) observing run. PI Jessica McIver. Amount allocated to the first year: ~$1.2 million.
  • Summer Internship Program in Gravitational-wave Astronomy by the Gravity Exploration Institute of Cardiff University, Jun 2019
    • Project Investigator to supervise one undergrad research intern who was selected globally for a maximum of 8 weeks in the summer: £2,200.
  • Cardiff University Research Opportunity Program (CUROP), Feb 2019
    • Project Investigator for the competitive grant to supervise one Cardiff University undergrad on the proposed research for 8 weeks in the summer: £2,258.

Seleted Awards:

  • David Lichtman Research Excellence Fellowship (2017-2018)
  • Group Achievement Award in Astronomy: awarded to the LIGO team (2017)
  • Princess of Asturias Award: awarded to LIGO Scientific Collaboration (2017)
  • Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics: awarded to LIGO Scientific Collaboration(with a medal, a diploma, and money award for every individual member; 2016)
  • Gruber Prize in Cosmology: awarded to LIGO Scientific Collaboration (2016)
  • UW-Milwaukee Graduate School Research Excellence Awards (2013 - 2018)
  • UW-Milwaukee Chancellor’s Scholarships (2011 - 2018)

Professional memberships

  • UK-China Gravitational-wave Excellence through Alliance Training (GrEAT) network member since 2019
  • Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) Consortium member since 2018
  • LIGO Scientific Collaboration full member since 2015
  • American Physical Society since 2014
  • Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH) member 2016 - 2018


  • Course Instructor, Fall 2019
    • An Introduction to General Relativity (co-taught with Prof. Bernard Schutz) at Cardiff University
  • Tutorial Mentor, Spring 2019
    • Cardiff University undergrad math, physics, and data analysis courses
  • Teaching Assistant, Falls 2012-2014 and Springs 2013&2017
    • Led in-classroom discussions on General Physics I, II (Non-Calculus Treatment) twice per week at UW-Milwaukee
  • Teaching Assistant, Summer 2012
    • Led weekly in-classroom discussions on General Physics Laboratory II (Non-CalculusTreatment) at UW-Milwaukee
  • Teaching Assistant, Falls 2011&2017 and Springs 2012&2018
    • Led in-classroom discussions on General Physics I, II (Calculus Treatment) twice per week at UW-Milwaukee

My research interests are in the following aspects of gravitational wave astronomy:

  • Fast and accurate gravitational wave inference;
  • Gravitational wave astrophysics and cosmology;
  • Dark matter search with gravitational wave detectors.

A list of my publications can be found here (click the link to my publication list) or use the website address:


Past projects

Ph.D. students

  • Zu-Cheng Chen (Oct 2019 - Oct 2020), PhD student at Institute of Physics (co-supervise with Dr. Vivien Raymond), visiting program on Building Reduced Order Quadrature Data for Neutron-Star-Black-Hole waveforms and Scenario Studies of Gravitational Waves from NSBHs.
  • Xinchun Hu (Nov 2019), PhD student at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, on the research project Reduced Order Quadrature Data Construction and Parameter Estimation of Super Massive Black Hole Binaries for Static LISA Detector as part of the Birmingham winter school for the UK-China GrEAT network.

Undergraduate research students

  • Alexander Reeves (Since Apr 2020; Jul-Aug 2019), the University of Cambridge Physics undergraduate student on the research project Constraining the Properties of Supermassive Black Holes with Ray-tracing Photos; summer internship research project Relativistic Ray-tracer Code in Python for Kerr Black Holes.
  • Hannah Riley (Jun-Nov 2019), Cardiff University undergraduate, CUROP placement on the research project A Framework of Estimating Black Hole Properties with Ray-tracing Images with a poster exhibition at Cardiff City Hall.