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Gravitational Waves & Multi-Messenger Astronomy

Gravitational Wave Data Analysis, Black Hole & Neutron Star Mergers, Gravitational Wave Sources & Their Electromagnetic Counterparts

Image Credit: NSF/LIGO/Sonoma State University/A. Simonnet

As a discipline, astronomy is constantly being pushed forward by new technologies that transform how we observe the Universe. Multi-messenger astronomy is the synthesis of observations using light, gravitational waves, and astro particles. Combining different information from different types of signals allows us to better understand the underlying physical processes that govern how astrophysical systems evolve and change, and helps us get a better handle on the uncertainties and statistics that are inherent to every observation we make. Additionally, numerical simulations are another type of “messenger” that can be combined with observations to better understand astrophysical phenomena. In CIERA, we have broad expertise and interest in multi-messenger astronomy, particularly at the interface of electromagnetic and gravitational-wave observations.

Research at CIERA


Compact objects, such as black holes, neutron stars, and white dwarfs, often exist in pairs which eventually merge. These systems are strong sources of gravitational waves, and their nature and the environment in which they reside has a profound effect on possible associated electromagnetic signatures.

Professor Fong’s group looks for EM counterparts to GW events with observing programs in Hawaii, Chile, and Arizona. They are particularly interested in studying short gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) whose progenitors are likely neutron star mergers with other neutron stars or black holes.



DSFP Postdoctoral Fellow

Deadline: 11:59pm, December 16, 2021

We invite applications for a postdoctoral scholar to join Northwestern’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) and the leadership of the LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program (DSFP). The DSFP Postdoctoral Fellow will divide their time equally between conducting an independent research program in data science in astronomy/astrophysics, while continuing the development and growth of the DSFP.

Astronomy PhD Program

Deadline: 11:59pm, December 31, 2021

The Northwestern Astronomy PhD is designed to provide students with a broad training in astronomy while enabling them to get started quickly with their graduate research. The Astronomy PhD is a flexible program that allows students to complement their astronomy training with a selection of physics courses or courses from other quantitative disciplines such as

Physics PhD Program

Deadline: 11:59pm, December 31, 2021

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers two different PhD degrees designed to best train students in their chosen discipline. For most branches of physics, students should enroll in the Physics PhD. Students interested in astronomy or astrophysics may apply for the Astronomy PhD. GREs (general and physics) are not accepted. Visit the Physics and Astronomy Department website for

Faculty Position in Astrophysics – Northwestern

Deadline: 11:59pm, January 15, 2022

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University invites applications for a new full time faculty position in astrophysics, as part of an ongoing expansion in this area.  We seek outstanding individuals in any area of astrophysics, including theory and computation, observational astronomy, and instrumentation. We are especially seeking researchers who will complement and expand



Core Astronomy Faculty



Graduate Students