Matfyz gets prestigious ERC starting grant

Ondřej Pejcha has received prestigious ERC Starting grant awarded by European Research Council. Funds will greatly boost current research project focusing on the interactions of binary stars.

Mgr. Ondřej Pejcha, Ph.D., is a graduate of Bachelor’s and Master’s Studies at the Institute of Theoretical Physics of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University. He continued his studies at Ohio State University, where he completed his PhD. Subsequently he worked for four years as a postdoctoral Hubble and Lyman Spitzer Jr. Fellow at Princeton University. Currently he is working on a joint Primus project at the Institute of Theoretical Physics of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University and the Astronomical Institute of Charles University. “I think that Primus is a unique programme in the Czech Republic that gives the researcher a great freedom of scientific research”, adds Dr Pejcha.

The Cat-In-hAT project, called in full The Catastrophic Interactions of Binary Stars and Associated Transients, will deal with interactions between binary stars that significantly change their parameters such as weight or orbital time. In some cases, these interactions may also conclude in the merging of the two stars into one exotic object. These processes are important for explaining the origination of a number of interesting objects in astronomy, such as tight binary stars composed of white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes. This category may also include binary black holes which can eventually merge emitting gravitational waves, as recently discovered within the LIGO and Virgo projects. “The specific objective of my project is the development and application of new modelling methods to investigate this issue”, explains Ondřej Pejcha. “With the ERC grant, I want to expand my existing team by postgraduate and postdoctoral students who will deal directly with this problem. Personally, I will be able to dedicate myself fully to scientific research for up to 5 years thanks to the grant”, concludes Pejcha.

– OPMK –

(Source: Pre-explosion spiral mass loss of a binary star merger)

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