ERC-CoG SUPERSTARS-3D Postdoc Position: 3D Modelling Of Massive Star Atmospheres
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
ERC-CoG SUPERSTARS-3D postdoc position: 3D modelling of massive star atmospheres
Last modification : Friday, June 10, 2022
Through funding from ERC-CoG project SUPERSTARS-3D (PI Sundqvist), we advertise a postdoc position to join the team of Prof. Jon Sundqvist at the Institute of Astronomy, KU Leuven, Belgium. The selected candidate will also collaborate closely with other teams at KU Leuven, as well as with a broad massive-star research community including colleagues spread around the world (e.g. the ‘ULYSSES’ working-group). More positions may be available depending on the interest and quality of the applicant. We actively support equal opportunities and diversity, and highly encourage female candidates or other minority groups to apply. The Institute of Astronomy (IoA) of Leuven University in Belgium is a young and vibrant research group of some 90 scientists, engineers, and administrative staff (fys.kuleuven.be/ster), including 6 full-time and 3 part-time professors. The institute is an expertise center in stellar physics and is active in several international consortia and collaborations. Crucial for this project; all members of IoA have access to parallel and supercomputing facilities. The IoA is further responsible for the organisation of the 2-year Master in Astronomy & Astrophysics of the Faculty of Science and owns the 1.2m Mercator telescope at Roque de losMuchachos, La Palma Observatory, Canary Islands.
Stars with masses many times that of our Sun are the direct progenitors to cosmic phenomena such as supernova explosions, black holes, and gravitational wave sources. Through electromagnetic observations we obtain empirical information of such massive stars, however decoding the radiation reaching us through our telescopes is a highly non-trivial exercise. To constrain fundamental properties like temperatures, radii, chemical abundances, mass loss, and turbulent and wind velocities, the observed radiation is fit by means of model stellar atmospheres.
Observations and theory show that the radiation-dominated atmospheres of massive stars are highly complex, multi-dimensional systems. However, whereas 3D model atmospheres of sun-like stars have already been on the market for a while, for hot, massive stars we still rely solely on results derived from (inadequate?) 1D simulations. The time is now finally ripe to change this!
The central objectives of SUPERSTARS-3D are:
Development: Improve our current modelling techniques for computational radiation-hydrodynamics in supersonic media, as well as for calculation of synthetic observables (in both cases using methods that are quite general, with applications also well outside the domain of massive stars). Focus points here involve further development of our radiative transfer methods, but also implementation of modules into our general computer-code packages, and efficient merging of the different modelling platforms.
Analysis: Computation and careful analysis of our first-gen 3D hydro- simulations of massive stars in various evolution stages (‘MS’, ‘LBV’, ‘WR’). From snapshots and time-series, compute synthetic spectra, light- curves, and some nice images. Compare to previous results from 1D models. Confront with state-of-the-art observational data. Obtain constraints on key parameters (variability, mass loss, temperatures, radii, chemical abundances, turbulence, velocities, etc.). Evaluate results and impacts.
For the interested candidate, some first exemplary 3D simulations of evolved Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars from our team can be found here: https: // arxiv.org/pdf/2203.01108.pdf , and a description of our basic 3D radiative transfer code package here: https: // arxiv.org/pdf/1910.13379.pdf
Post-doc applicants must hold a PhD in astrophysics, or an equivalent diploma. Proficiency in English is required. Interests in computational (astro)physics and/or analytic and numerical model-development are general assets. Experience in astrophysical (radiation-)hydrodynamics, radiative transfer, model atmospheres, or quantitative spectroscopy are assets but not requirements.
Depending on the specific interests and preferences of the candidate, the work can be somewhat more tilted against the development or analysis parts of the project.
The selected Postdoc will initially be offered a 2-year contract. The salary will be commensurate to the standard scale for post-doc researcher in Belgium and will depend on the number of years of experience after PhD. It includes social and medical insurance as well as pension rights. The postdoc will be encouraged to take up teaching duties and training in science management, science communication and grant application writing with the aim to develop a personal independent career track.
The foreseen starting date is October 1st, 2022 but can be negotiated towards earlier or later dates.
The application package should include:
– a curriculum vitae, with a publication list if relevant;
– a statement of interest (max. 1 page);
– a summary of the research experience (max. 1 page text + 1 page figures)
Applicants must also provide the names and contact details of two reference persons who would be prepared to send confidential recommendation letters should they be requested to do so. The selection committee will send out requests for such letters for applicants on the short-list after an initial ranking. The short-listed applicants will be invited for an interview (to be hold through videoconference or in presence depending on the geographical constraints and sanitary conditions).
Further information on the positions and on the project may be obtained by contacting Prof. Jon Sundqvist by email (email@example.com).
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.