Building upon 40 years of experience in space research, the University of Bern, Switzerland, has launched the new Center for Space and Habitability (CSH) with the aim of broadly studying exoplanets and the Solar System. The CSH is a multi-disciplinary entity that encompasses research groups in applied physics, astronomy, biology, chemistry, climate science, geology and planetary science. The range of techniques employed is broad and diverse: instrumentation/experiment, observation, laboratory work, simulation and theory. Researchers at the CSH are involved in multiple space missions, including CHEOPS and ROSETTA. We maintain strong ties to the research groups in Geneva and Zurich.
The new Exoclimes Group is embedded within the CSH with tenure-track Assistant Professor and astrophysicist Kevin Heng as its Principal Investigator. Its objective is to broadly study the climates of exoplanets: the long-term state of the atmosphere and its interaction with other components of the exoplanet, including the star-exoplanet interaction. Inspired by the climate community, the Exoclimes Group is grounded in a hierarchical approach to problem-solving, which includes the full range of 1D analytical models to 3D climate simulations. Its key project is the Exoclimes Simulation Platform (ESP), which is an open-source, exoplanet-centric (rather than Earth-centric) general circulation model built from the ground-up to function on graphics processing units (GPUs). The core members of the ESP team currently include Simon Grimm (simon 'at' exoclime.org) and Dr. Jaemin Lee (lee 'at' exoclime.org), supported by a group of senior scientific advisors.
As part of the expansion of the Exoclimes Group, we are interested in hiring postdoctoral research associates for the following positions.
1. General science of exoclimes and exoplanets (3+2 years): the successful candidate will be based at the University of Bern, spending half of his/her time on research of his/her choice and the other half co-developing the ESP. Areas of interest to the Exoclimes Group include atmospheric chemistry, atmospheric dynamics, orbital dynamics, spectral analysis and retrieval, surface processes, interior dynamics and evolution, condensation/dust/cloud/haze physics, etc. The candidate may also propose topics of interest.
2. Computational MHD (3 years): the successful candidate will spend the first half of the appointment at ETH Zurich working with Prof. Sid Mishra (sid 'at' exoclime.org) and the second half at the University of Bern. He/she will also collaborate with Prof. Romain Teyssier (romain 'at' exoclime.org) and Dr. Joachim Stadel (joachim 'at' exoclime.org) at the University of Zurich. The overall goal is to develop numerical algorithms and code for the MHD dynamical core of the ESP.
For both positions, prior knowledge of GPU computing (both software and hardware) is a strength, but is not required. Both positions include a possibility of further extension depending upon performance and the availability of funding.
Applications should include the following materials: 1. one-page CV; 2. publication list; 3. one-page statement of past, present and future research interests; 4. three letters of recommendation. Please indicate if you are interested in Position #1 or #2. Inquiries may be directed to Kevin Heng. Applications should be submitted via email (jobs 'at' exoclime.org). Please state "ESP Research Associate Application" in the title of your email.
The application deadline is 15th Jan 2013. The expected starting date is Fall 2013 and is negotiable. Annual salaries are in the range 85,000 to 95,000 CHF (Swiss francs), depending on experience, and include standard benefits. There is generous funding available for computers, research-related activities and work travel. The Swiss franc is slightly stronger than the U.S. dollar. Swiss salaries are considered to be extremely competitive even considering local costs. Swiss cities are consistently rated to be among the best in the world in terms of standards of living.