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Max-Planck-Institue for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE)

Research Field

A description of the fascinating research topics follows soon.

Members of the Research Group


Other Staff


Course with Participations of Group Members

Offers for Theses in the Group

Modeling of the prompt and afterglow phases of gamma-ray bursts

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are flashes of gamma-ray resulting from the death of massive stars or the merger of neutron stars. They are followed by an `afterglow' signal that can be detected from radio to X-rays, produced by a shock wave moving into the gas surrounding the burster at approximately the speed of light. For both phemomena, prompt and afterglow emission, a huge amount of observational data exists. However, modelling is still mostly done with heuristic functions, like power laws, rather than testing against physical models.

We propose three projects aiming at modeling specific mechanisms of the prompt and afterglow phases of GRBs: the emphasis can be put on  (1) modelling of particle escape from GRB blast-waves, (2) theoretical study of correlations between the time evolution of the polarization state and other spectral observables (peak energy, luminosity etc), or (3) numerical computation of synchrotron radiation from an anisotropic electron distribution function and predictions for circular polarization in GRB afterglow.

Technically, this thesis involves learning about (i) physics of GRB prompt (synchrotron) and afterglow emission, (ii) polarization of synchrotron radiation and Compton scattering, (iii) modelling cross-sections of varous processes, and (iv) deriving predictions against which data can be compared with

Some background in astrophysics is advantegeous. Good numerical and or analytical skills are required.

Contact: Jochen Greiner,, MPE Room 1.3.13, Tel. 30000-3847

suitable as
  • Bachelor’s Thesis Physics
Supervisor: Jochen Greiner
Search for and characterization of gamma-ray transients

The recent detection of gravitational waves (GW) with the advanced LIGO/Virgo instruments in conjunction with a short gamma-ray burst (GRB) has surprised gamma-ray astronomers because of the substantially different properties of the GRB signal as compared to canonical GRBs. This motivates an "open-mind" search for untriggered transient events in the data stream of the gamma-ray burst monitor (GBM) on the Fermi satellite. With two previous Bachelor theses we have developed a physical background model, paving the way for automated searches, and subsequent source and background fitting.

This thesis shall be devoted to establishing a Python program for identifying long-term (> few minutes) transients in Fermi/GBM data, localizing them on the sky, and deriving basic properties (spectrum, light curve). The project includes elements from computational and observational high-energy astrophysics, and will allow for obtaining extensive knowledge on the broad class of high-energy transients.

Some background in astrophysics is advantegeous, but affinity with Python programming is a must.

Contact: Jochen Greiner,, MPE Room 1.3.13, Tel. 30000-3847

suitable as
  • Master’s Thesis Nuclear, Particle, and Astrophysics
Supervisor: Jochen Greiner

Current and Finished Theses in the Group

26Al und 60Fe Kerne aus einem massereichen Stern
Abschlussarbeit im Bachelorstudiengang Physik
Themensteller(in): Roland Diehl
Space Gamma-Ray Telescope Properties and Performance
Abschlussarbeit im Bachelorstudiengang Physik
Themensteller(in): Roland Diehl
Investigation of ultra-long Gamma-ray Bursts on Fermi/GBM data
Abschlussarbeit im Bachelorstudiengang Physik
Themensteller(in): Jochen Greiner
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