Mark Gieles

Mark Gieles

Universitat de Barcelona

Experimental Sciences & Mathematics

Mark Gieles obtained his PhD from Utrecht University in 2006, supervised by Henny Lamers and Simon Portegies Zwart. He then moved to the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile as a research fellow and support astronomer on the Very Large Telescope (VLT). As part of the fellowship he spent a few month in Edinburgh working with Douglas Heggie. In 2009, he won a Royal Society University Research Fellowship (URF) which he took up at the Institute of Astronomy of the University of Cambridge and in 2013 he moved his URF to the University of Surrey, where he started a new astrophysics research group. From 2013 to 2019 he was PI of a Starting Grant of the European Research Council (ERC) and since 2017 he is a member of the editorial board of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS), one of the leading peer-reviewed journals in astronomy and astrophysics. In 2018 he started as ICREA Professor at ICCUB, where he now leads the Virgo gravitational wave group.

Research interests

Most of my research focusses on trying to understand the formation and dynamical evolution of star clusters to shed light on the stellar initial mass function, black holes, gravitational waves, the globular cluster multiple population problem and the dark matter distribution in galaxies. The Milky Way contains approximately 150 globular clusters, for which we have exquisite observations. To interpret these, I use both star-by-star N-body simulations, fast approximate models for cluster evolution and dynamical mass models. I developed a new family of mass models for star clusters (LIMEPY) to search for stellar-mass black holes in star clusters and to probe dark matter in the Milky Way using data from the ESA-Gaia satellite and related surveys. In 2019, I joined the Virgo Collaboration and I make predictions for binary black hole mergers that formed dynamically in star clusters. 

Selected publications

- Torniamenti S, Gieles M, Penoyre Z, et al. 2023, 'Stellar-mass black holes in the Hyades star cluster?', Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society, 524, 2, 1965 - 1986.
- Antonini F, Gieles M, Dosopoulou F, et al. 2023, 'Coalescing black hole binaries from globular clusters: mass distributions and comparison to gravitational wave data from GWTC-3', Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society, 522, 1, 466 - 476.
- Dickson N, Henault-Brunet V, Baumgardt H, Gieles M & Smith PJ 2023, 'Multimass modelling of Milky Way globular clusters - I. Implications on their stellar initial mass function above 1 M-?', Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society, 522, 4, 5320 - 5339.
- Gieles M & Gnedin OY 2023, 'The mass-loss rates of star clusters with stellar-mass black holes: implications for the globular cluster mass function', Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society, 522, 4, 5340 - 5357.
- Saracino S, Kamann S, Bastian N, Gieles M, Shenar T, Reindl N, Müller-Horn J, Usher C, Dreizler S & Hénault-Brunet V 2023, 'A closer look at the binary content of NGC 1850', Monthly notices of the royal astronomical society, 299 - 322.
- Saracino S, Shenar T, Kamann S, Bastian N, Gieles M, Usher C, Bodensteiner J, Kochoska A, Orosz J A, & Sana H 2023, 'Updated radial velocities and new constraints on the nature of the unseen source in NGC1850 BH1', Monthly notices of the royal astronomical society, 521, 3162-3171.