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Faculty of Mathematics




  • 2021-present: Professor of Astrophysics, DAMTP, University of Cambridge
  • 2018-2021: Reader in Astrophysics, DAMTP, University of Cambridge
  • 2016-2018: University Lecturer in Astrophysics, DAMTP, University of Cambridge
  • 2015-2016: Visiting Faculty Member, Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, USA)
  • 2007-2015: Assistant Professor, Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University (USA)
  • 2005-2007: Assistant Professor, Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, University of Toronto (Canada) 


Roman Rafikov is a member of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics research group. His current research interests include (but are not limited to) the following areas:

  • exoplanets (around single and binary stars; young, main sequence, and evolved stars)  
  • planet formation and dynamics
  • astrophysical fluid dynamics
  • accretion disks (protoplanetary, disks in binaries, quasars, etc.)
  • N-body and galactic dynamics
  • high-energy astrophysics

Selected Publications

  • Vartanyan, D., Garmilla, J. A., & Rafikov, R. R. (2016) "Tatooine Nurseries: Structure and Evolution of Circumbinary Protoplanetary Disks", The Astrophysical Journal, 816, id. 94
  • Philippov, A. A., Rafikov, R. R., & Stone, J. M. (2016) "Spreading Layers in Accreting Objects: Role of Acoustic Waves for Angular Momentum Transport, Mixing, and Thermodynamics", The Astrophysical Journal, 817, id. 62
  • Macintosh, B., ..., Rafikov, R. R., et al (2015), "Discovery and spectroscopy of the young jovian planet 51 Eri b with the Gemini Planet Imager", Science, 350, Issue 6256, 64
  • Rafikov, R. R. (2015) "Viscosity Prescription for Gravitationally Unstable Accretion Disks", The Astrophysical Journal, 804, id. 62
  • Silsbee, K. & Rafikov, R. R. (2015) "Birth Locations of the Kepler Circumbinary Planets", The Astrophysical Journal, 808, id. 58
  • Silsbee, K. & Rafikov, R. R. (2015) "Planet Formation in Binaries: Dynamics of Planetesimals Perturbed by the Eccentric Protoplanetary Disk and the Secondary", The Astrophysical Journal, 798, id. 71
  • Dong, R., Zhu, Z., Rafikov, R. R., & Stone, J. M. (2015) "Observational Signatures of Planets in Protoplanetary Disks: Spiral Arms Observed in Scattered Light Imaging Can be Induced by Planets", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 809, id. L5
  • Chabrier, G., Johansen, A., Janson, M., & Rafikov, R. (2014) "Giant Planet and Brown Dwarf Formation", Protostars and Planets VI, 619
  • Zhu, Z., Stone, J. M., Rafikov, R. R., & Bai, X. (2014), "Particle Concentration at Planet-induced Gap Edges and Vortices. I. Inviscid Three-dimensional Hydro Disks", The Astrophysical Journal, 785, id. 122
  • Ju, W., Greene, J. E., Rafikov, R. R., et al (2013) "Search for Supermassive Black Hole Binaries in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Spectroscopic Sample", The Astrophysical Journal, 777, id. 44
  • Rafikov, R. R. (2013) "Structure and Evolution of Circumbinary Disks around Supermassive Black Hole Binaries", The Astrophysical Journal, 774, id. 144
  • Belyaev, M. A., Rafikov, R. R. & Stone, J. M. (2013) "Angular Momentum Transport by Acoustic Modes Generated in the Boundary Layer. II. Magnetohydrodynamic Simulations", The Astrophysical Journal, 770, id. 68
  • Belyaev, M. A., Rafikov, R. R. & Stone, J. M. (2013) "Angular Momentum Transport by Acoustic Modes Generated in the Boundary Layer. I. Hydrodynamical Theory and Simulations", The Astrophysical Journal, 770, id. 67
  • Rafikov, R. R. (2013) "Building Tatooine: Suppression of the Direct Secular Excitation in Kepler Circumbinary Planet Formation", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 764, id. L16
  • Rafikov, R. R. (2013) "Planet Formation in Small Separation Binaries: Not so Secularly Excited by the Companion", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 765, id. L8
  • Belyaev, M. A., Rafikov, R. R., & Stone, J.M. (2012) "Angular Momentum Transport and Variability in Boundary Layers of Accretion Disks Driven by Global Acoustic Modes", The Astrophysical Journal, 760, id. 22
  • Metzger, B. D., Rafikov, R. R., & Bochkarev, K. V. (2012) "Global models of runaway accretion in white dwarf debris discs", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 423, 505
  • Rafikov, R. R. & Petrovich, C. (2012) "The Origin of the Negative Torque Density in Disk-Satellite Interaction", The Astrophysical Journal, 747, id. 24
  • Dong, R., Rafikov, R., Zhu, Z., et al (2012), "The Missing Cavities in the SEEDS Polarized Scattered Light Images of Transitional Protoplanetary Disks: A Generic Disk Model", The Astrophysical Journal, 750, id. 161
  • Rafikov, R. R. (2011) "Runaway accretion of metals from compact discs of debris on to white dwarfs", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, 416, L55
  • "Metal Accretion onto White Dwarfs Caused by Poynting-Robertson Drag on their Debris Disks", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 732, id. L3
  • Rafikov, R. R. (2011) "Constraint on the Giant Planet Production by Core Accretion", The Astrophysical Journal, 727, id. 86
  • Belyaev, M. A. & Rafikov, R. R. (2010) "The Dynamics of Dust Grains in the Outer Solar System", The Astrophysical Journal, 723, 1718
  • Rafikov, R. R. (2009) "Properties of Gravitoturbulent Accretion Disks", The Astrophysical Journal, 704, 281
  • Rafikov, R. R. (2007) "Convective Cooling and Fragmentation of Gravitationally Unstable Disks", The Astrophysical Journal, 662, 642
  • Rafikov, R. R. (2006) "Atmospheres of Protoplanetary Cores: Critical Mass for Nucleated Instability", The Astrophysical Journal, 648, 666
  • Rafikov, R. R. (2005) "Can Giant Planets Form by Direct Gravitational Instability?", The Astrophysical Journal, 621, L69
  • Rafikov, R. R. & Goldreich, P. (2005) "Magnetospheric Eclipses in the Double-Pulsar System PSR J0737-3039", The Astrophysical Journal, 631, 488
  • Rafikov, R. R. (2004) "Fast Accretion of Small Planetesimals by Protoplanetary Cores", The Astronomical Journal, 128, 1348
  • Rafikov, R. R. (2003), "The Growth of Planetary Embryos: Orderly, Runaway, or Oligarchic?",
    The Astronomical Journal, 125, 942
  • Rafikov, R. R. (2002) "Planet Migration and Gap Formation by Tidally Induced Shocks", The Astrophysical Journal, 572, 566
  • Rafikov, R. R. (2002) "Nonlinear Propagation of Planet-generated Tidal Waves", The Astrophysical Journal, 569, 997
  • Goodman, J. & Rafikov, R. R. (2001) "Planetary Torques as the Viscosity of Protoplanetary Disks", The Astrophysical Journal, 552, 793
  • Rafikov, R. R. (2001) "The local axisymmetric instability criterion in a thin, rotating, multicomponent disc", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 323, 445



Secular dynamics of binaries in stellar clusters – I. General formulation and dependence on cluster potential
C Hamilton, RR Rafikov
– Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Secular dynamics of binaries in stellar clusters – II. Dynamical evolution
C Hamilton, RR Rafikov
– Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Envelopes of embedded super-Earths – II. Three-dimensional isothermal simulations
W Béthune, RR Rafikov
– Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
The Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey: Giant Planet and Brown Dwarf Demographics From 10-100 AU
EL Nielsen, RJ De Rosa, B Macintosh, JJ Wang, JB Ruffio, E Chiang, MS Marley, D Saumon, D Savransky, S Mark Ammons, VP Bailey, T Barman, C Blain, J Bulger, A Burrows, J Chilcote, T Cotten, I Czekala, R Doyon, G Duchene, TM Esposito, D Fabrycky, MP Fitzgerald, KB Follette, JJ Fortney et al.
– The Astronomical Journal
On the Planetary Interpretation of Multiple Gaps and Rings in Protoplanetary Disks Seen by ALMA
R Miranda, RR Rafikov
– Astrophysical Journal Letters
Envelopes of embedded super-Earths I. Two-dimensional simulations
W Béthune, RR Rafikov
– Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Multiple Spiral Arms in Protoplanetary Disks: Linear Theory
R Miranda, RR Rafikov
– Astrophysical Journal
Multi-Messenger Astrophysics with Pulsar Timing Arrays
LZ Kelley, M Charisi, S Burke-Spolaor, J Simon, L Blecha, T Bogdanovic, M Colpi, J Comerford, DJ D'Orazio, M Dotti, M Eracleous, M Graham, JE Greene, Z Haiman, K Holley-Bockelmann, E Kara, B Kelly, S Komossa, SL Larson, X Liu, C-P Ma, S Noble, V Paschalidis, RR Rafikov, V Ravi et al.
Spin Evolution and Cometary Interpretation of the Interstellar Minor Object 1I/2017 'Oumuamua
RR Rafikov
– The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Non-Gravitational Forces and Spin Evolution of Comets
RR Rafikov
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Research Groups

Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics and Nonlinear Dynamics




01223 764254