We are seeking ambitious, highly-qualified postdoctoral researchers to work in the DEMOBLACK team led by Prof. Michela Mapelli. The ERC project DEMOBLACK investigates the formation channels of stellar black hole binaries in the field and in star clusters, by means of population synthesis and dynamical simulations. 

Candidates with experience in any of the following areas are particularly invited to apply:

1- development of software for astrophysics (in C/C++ and Python);

2- outcomes of core-collapse supernova explosions;

3- binary population synthesis and massive star evolution;

4- cosmic star formation rate and metallicity evolution;

5- direct N-body simulations of star clusters and black hole dynamics (using nbody6 or

similar codes);

6- model selection techniques and Bayesian analysis applied to gravitational-wave data.

The earliest possible date is Spring 2020. Enquiries about the scientific project and the application procedure  can be addressed to Michela Mapelli:

You are very welcome to join the DEMOBLACK team as a PhD student. The next PhD admission exams are scheduled for March 2020 and the starting date of the fellowship is October 2020. Here below, you can find the description of possible PhD fellowships in our group. Do not hesitate to contact us ( for further details.

BINARY BLACK HOLE FORMATION WITH POPULATION SYNTHESIS (supervisor: Michela Mapelli; co-supervisor: Giuliano Iorio):

Understanding the formation channels of binary black holes is one of the fundamental questions of gravitational-wave astronomy. Binary star evolution plays a crucial role in this context. Two massive stars orbiting about each other can exchange mass during their life (mass transfer) or even share the same envelope (common envelope). These complex physical processes determine the mass of the compact objects and the final period of the binary system. The main goal of this PhD thesis is to study the impact of a new, physically motivated treatment for mass transfer, common envelope and core-collapse supernova on the demography of binary black holes. The student will develop this new formalism into our population synthesis code SEVN.

BAYESIAN ANALYSIS APPLIED TO MODEL SELECTION AND GRAVITATIONAL-WAVE DATA (supervisor: Michela Mapelli; co-supervisor: Yann Bouffanais):

Model selection in the frame of Bayesian statistics is a powerful tool to differentiate between the main formation channels of binary black holes. This thesis project aims to take the catalogs of binary black holes simulated with population synthesis in order to model the distribution of masses, redshifts and spins of merging binary black holes from various formation channels. The obtained distributions can then be compared against the set of merging binary black holes detected by LIGO-Virgo using a model selection tool specifically tailored for gravitational wave data analysis and developed by our team. The final goal of this project is to make use of Bayesian model selection analysis to put constraints on the percentage of binary black hole mergers in the Universe triggered by dynamics versus binary evolution. 

DYNAMICAL FORMATION OF INTERMEDIATE-MASS BLACK HOLES (supervisor: Michela Mapelli; co-supervisor: Sara Rastello):

The runaway collision process is one of the most dramatic events in the evolution of a star cluster: the most massive stars sink toward the center of the cluster in less than a Myr by dynamical friction. Once they reach the cluster core, the high density triggers a violent series of collisions among massive stars, which lead to the formation of super-massive stars (several hundreds solar masses). This super-massive stars might then collapse to a black hole with a mass in excess of 100 solar masses, i.e. an intermediate-mass black hole. This Thesis goal is to find out which are the most promising environments where intermediate-mass black holes can form and to constrain their merger rate with other black holes. Dynamical simulations are the key methodology to reach this goal.

We are delighted to meet with Master and Bachelor students and to propose them a number of topics for an original Thesis on gravitational wave astronomy. At this link, you can find a presentation about our lines of research and some possible Thesis topics. Do not hesitate to contact us if you want to know more. Here below, you can see a conceptual map of our research topics: gravitational wave astrophysics is an interdisciplinary field, ranging from compact object physics, to stellar astrophysics, gravitational waves and general relativity, stellar dynamics, Bayesian statistics and computational science. Enjoy!