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Content archived on 2024-06-18

Exploring the origins and implications of variability in X-ray binary systems and active galactic nuclei


Recent research has shown a deep connection between the X-ray variability properties of accreting black holes on all mass scales, from stellar mass X-ray binary systems (XRBs) to the similarly but much more slowly varying supermassive black holes in Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN).

My research has suggested that the variability is due to variations in the accretion flow, which powers the emission from these objects. With a much deeper understanding of the nature and origin of the variability in XRBs we can shed new light on the nature of accretion and its importance for AGN variability.

I will investigate XRB variability at a much deeper level and greatly increase my competence in XRB research by working at one of the world's leading institutes for XRB research, the Anton Pannekoek Astronomical Institute (API) in Amsterdam. I will use novel techniques, the rms-flux relation, flux distribution and bispectrum, to explore the origin of X-ray variability in XRBs and shed light on the nature of XRB states and the differences between neutron star and black hole systems.

I will use my results to construct toy models for the variability which will shed light on variations in AGN accretion which occur on much longer time-scales than can be probed by observations, and may play an important role in the evolution of AGN and, through their interaction with their environment, the evolution of the Universe.

Through exploring the new XRB/AGN synergy in a world-class XRB research group I will increase EU competitiveness in research in both AGN and XRBs, and reach a level of professional maturity which will enable me to pursue a fruitful research career in both AGN and XRB astrophysics.

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