Applications are invited for postdoctoral positions at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), a member of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, to work with the SAO Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) group, led by Dr. Shep Doeleman. The fellowships will start in the Summer or Fall of 2014, or earlier by arrangement. Successful applicants will have the opportunity to lead research projects studying super massive black holes on Schwarzschild radius scales. Applicants with experience in radio interferometry, software, in particular astronomy data pipelines, digital signal processing and instrumentation, or black hole theory and simulation are encouraged to apply.
The EHT is a network of ultra-short wavelength radiotelescopes forming a Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) array that has achieved extraordinary angular resolutions of 50 micro arcseconds and finer. At 1.3mm wavelength, the EHT has resolved Event Horizon scale structures in SgrA*, the 4 million solar mass black hole at the Galactic Center, and at the jet base of 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 3 years, is aimed resolving black hole orbits in time and space and imaging strong field GR effects.
The SAO group organizes EHT observations on the VLBI network and develops analysis software for high frequency VLBI data reduction including imaging and modeling algorithms. Science directions include Schwarzschild radius scale studies of relativistic jet launching, black hole accretion and strong 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. There are multiple opportunities for the successful candidates to take on leading roles with the EHT.
Applicants must have a recent PhD in astronomy, engineering, or a related field. The annual stipend for 2014 is $58,000. Smithsonian group health insurance coverage is fully paid for individuals and families. Relocation expenses up to $3,000 will be reimbursed and funds are available for travel. The position is for three years.
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 three letters of recommendation to be sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications must be received before December 15, 2013.
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.