Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Dr Philip Charlton

Dr Philip Charlton

BMaths(Hons) PhD

Philip completed his PhD in Mathematics at the University of Newcastle in 1998. He has worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Australian National University and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena , and as a lecturer at La Trobe University. His research interests are in data analysis for the detection of gravitational waves, differential geometry and relativity.

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Teaching Responsibilities

  • STA201 (Scientific Statistics)
  • MTH101 (Computer Aided Maths Applications 1)
  • MTH203 (Numerical Methods)
  • MTH102 (Computer Aided Mathematics 2)
  • STA201 (Scientific Statistics)

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Research Focus
  • Relativity
  • Differential Geometry
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Gravitational Waves

Data analysis for the detection of gravitational waves

Investigators: Dr Philip Charlton

Description: The Laser Interferometric Gravitational-wave Observatory1 (LIGO) is a large-scale physics experiment and observatory to detect gravitational waves from astrophysical sources. LIGO is a joint project among scientists from several colleges and universities. Scientists involved in the project and the analysis of the data for gravitational-wave astronomy are organised by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration which includes more than 900 scientists worldwide.

On September 14 2015, LIGO made the historic first direct detection of gravitational waves from the merger of two massive black holes, estimated to be 1.3 billion light-years away2. This discovery is the culmination of decades of instrumental research and development, through a world-wide effort of thousands of researchers, and made possible by dedicated support for LIGO from the National Science Foundation and other funding bodies including the Australian Research Council. This detection marks the beginning of a new era of gravitational wave astronomy – the possibilities for discovery are as rich and boundless as they have been with light-based astronomy.

Dr Philip Charlton has been a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration since 2000 and a member of the Australian Consortium for Interferometric Gravitational Astronomy3 (ACIGA) since 2005. His main field of interest is data analysis for the detection of the stochastic background of gravitational waves. Gravitational waves from a variety of sources are predicted to create a stochastic background4. This background is expected to contain unique information from throughout the history of the universe that is unavailable through standard electromagnetic observations, making its study of fundamental importance to understanding the evolution of the universe.

You can read more on Gravitational Waves detected 100 years after Einsteins Prediction at CSU News


[2] "Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger",

B. P. Abbott et al. (LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration)

Physical Review Letters 116, 061102


[4] "An upper limit on the stochastic gravitational-wave background of cosmological origin", The LIGO Scientific Collaboration & The Virgo Collaboration, Nature 460, 990-994

Current Research Students
  • Daniel Lyons, PhD topic "Algebraic aspects of integrability" (with Dr Dmitry Demskoy).
Past Research Students
  • Matthew Robards, "A discriminant analysis for undersampled data", Honours 1st Class, 2008.
  • Leanne Morgan, "A simple-to-use analytic mathematical model of channel seepage under Australian conditions", Honours 1st Class, 2007.
  • Camilla Vote, PhD topic "Integrated mapping and modeling of water and carbon footprints of Australian irigated agricultural systems".
  • Mark Weedon, PhD topic "Solar heat loads on outdoor tanks".

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Professional Activities

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Selected Publications

  • B Abbot et al. "Upper limit map of a background of gravitational waves", Physical Review D76 082003 (2007).
  • E J Candes, P R Charlton and H Helgason. "Detecting Highly Oscillatory Signals by Chirplet Path Pursuit", Applied and Computational Harmonic Analysis21 issue 1 (2007).
  • P R Charlton and A Lazzarini. "Comparison of band-limited RMS between DARM_ERR and calibrated strain in S4" , LIGO Technical Report T-060138.
  • B Abbot et al. "Joint LIGO and TAMA300 Search for Gravitational Waves from Inspiralling Neutron Star Binaries", Physical Review D73 102002 (2006).
  • B Abbot et al. "Search for gravitational waves from binary black hole inspirals in LIGO data", Physical Review D73 062001 (2006).
  • B Abbot et al. "Search for gravitational wave bursts in LIGO's third science run". Classical and Quantum Gravity23 (2006) S29-S39.

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