Research Associate in Theoretical Astrophysics

University of Leicester

Postdoctorate Position 3 years Leicester, UK

Uploaded 21 Feb 2019

Job Description

The Theoretical Astrophysics Group at the University of Leicester invites applications for a post-doctoral Research Associate position in Theoretical Astrophysics. This position is funded for a period of three years by the Science and Technology Facility Council (STFC, a UK government Research Council) grant awarded to Prof. Walter Dehnen.

The project is concerned with the dynamics of the Milky Way galaxy, especially its stellar disc in the wider Solar neighbourhood. You will analyse the Gaia data with particular emphasis on non-equilibrium features, such as breathing (e.g. spirals) and bending (e.g. warp) waves. The goal of the project is to understand qualitatively and quantitatively the non-equilibrium properties of the Milky Way and thereby ultimately overcome the fundamental limitations of dynamical equilibrium models. To this end, we plan to pursue both theoretical tools (perturbation theory) and detailed high-resolution N-body simulations. We are also interested in exploring the application of machine learning methodologies to this problem.

You will carry out independent and collaborative research for this project, and will also have opportunities to collaborate more widely within the Theoretical Astrophysics Group (whose existing research programme includes planet formation, AGN physics, accretion discs, galactic dynamics, and dark matter). As the project will be conducted in collaboration with Ralph Schönrich (Oxford), Sven de Rijcke (Ghent), and Joachim Stadel (Zurich) and as the PI (Dehnen) is also affiliated with Munich university, there will be opportunity for travel and international collaborations.

Person Specification

You will be a highly motivated individual with a PhD in astrophysics, theoretical physics or applied mathematics. You will have skills in computer programming and data analysis and research experience in a relevant area, preferably with a publication record in peer-reviewed journals. Good communication skills are essential, able to build relationships and foster collaborations with national and international experts and develop a network of research scientists. 

Additional Information

Leicester is a leading University committed to international excellence, world-changing research and high quality, inspirational teaching. You will develop your career in a supportive and collaborative academic environment in one of the world’s leading research-intensive universities; elite in the excellence of our research, yet distinctive for the genuine synergy between our research and teaching.

In return for your hard work, we offer a working environment that is committed to inclusivity, through promoting equality and valuing diversity. We offer a competitive salary package with excellent pension scheme and a generous annual leave allowance. Located close to Leicester city centre, our award winning campus benefits from a wide range of cafes, a fully equipped sports centre and nursery facilities. Further information regarding our extensive range of staff benefits is available here.

Informal enquiries are welcome and should be made to Professor Walter Dehnen on [email protected] 

Interviews are anticipated to take place on 09 May 2019.