Applications are invited for postdoctoral positions at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, a member of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, to work with Dr. Shep Doeleman on the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project. Employment starting in the Summer/Fall of 2013. The main responsibilities of the positions will be to lead research projects in the areas of Schwarzschild-radius-scale study of black holes and instrumental development. Applicants with experience in mm/submm interferometry, software instrumentation and/or black hole theory/simulation are encouraged to apply.
The EHT is a network of mm/submm wavelength facilities forming a Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) array that currently achieves angular resolutions of 50 micro arcseconds. At observing wavelengths of 1.3mm the EHT has resolved Event Horizon scale structures in SgrA*, the 4 million solar mass black hole at the Galactic Center, and in M87, the giant elliptical galaxy in Virgo. Deployment of new instrumentation, enabling full polarization observations and extension to the 0.8mm wavelength band over the next 2-3 years, will allow the EHT to time resolve and spatially resolve black hole orbits and image strong field GR effects.
Instrumentation efforts within the group include development of ultra-wideband phased array systems (including a system to enable VLBI operation at the new ALMA array), VLBI digital backends that employ field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), as well as development of RF systems. In addition to organizing EHT observations on the current 1.3mm VLBI network, the group also develops analysis software for high frequency VLBI data reduction including imaging and modeling algorithms. There are multiple opportunities for the successful candidates to take on leading roles within the EHT. There is a preference for at least one of the positions to focus on instrumentation development and deployment.
Applicants must have a recent PhD in astronomy or a related field. The annual stipend for 2013 is $57,000. Smithsonian group health insurance coverage is fully paid for individuals and families. Relocation expenses up to $3,000 will be reimbursed.
Candidates should submit a pdf package consisting of a current CV, publication list and 1-2 page summary of research interests with reference to EHT work, and arrange for 3 letters of recommendation to be sent directly to email@example.com. Applications received before February 15, 2013 will be given full consideration, but we will continue to review applications until the position is filled.
The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer where all qualified applicants receive equal consideration for employment without regard to race, creed, color, sex or national origin.