Professor Patrick Sutton
Gravity Exploration Institute
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 with machine learning techniques. 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
- Member, STFC Science Board (2023+)
- Head, Gravity Exploration Institute, Cardiff University (2015-2019)
- Chair, STFC Particle Astrophysics Advisory Panel (2012-2016)
- Member, Astroparticle Physics European Consortium (ApPEC) - Scientific Advisory Commitee (2015-2019)
PublicationsWe are currently unable to retrieve the list of publications. Visit our institutional repository.
PX1121 - Mechanics and Matter (2018-22)
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 also superivse BSc, MPhys, and MSc projects in areas related to gravitational-wave detection, multi-messenger astronomy, and machine learning.
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: Vassilis Skliris, Michael Norman, Wasim Javed, Kyle Willetts.
I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:
- gravitational waves
- signal detection techniques
- machie learning
- Supervisor for Ronaldas Macas - Detection, reconstruction and interpretation of unmodelled gravitational-wave transients (PhD, 2020)
- Supervisor for Scott Coughlin - Gravity Spy and X-Pypeline: A multidisciplinary approach to characterizing and understanding non-astrophysical gravitational wave data and its impact on searches for unmodelled signals (PhD, 2019)
- Supervisor for Iain Dorrington - Improved Methods for the Detection of Gravitational Waves associated with Gamma-Ray Bursts (PhD, 2019)
- Supervisor for Maxime Fayes - Search for long-duration transients with second generation detectors (PhD, 2017)
- Supervisor for Scott Coughlin - Gravitational waves searches associated with galactic core-collapse supernova (MPhil, 2015)
- Supervisor for Thomas Adams - Detector Characterisation and Searches for Gravitational Waves Using GEO 600 (PhD, 2014)
- Supervisor for Mark Edwards - On the search for intermediate duration gravitational waves using the spherical harmonic basis (PhD, 2014)
- Supervisor for Laura Nuttall - Electromagnetic Follow-Up of Gravitational Wave Candidates (PhD, 2013).