Researcher 5 - VERITAS

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Archive Date: 
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Large Academic
University of Minnesota
Department Name: 
School of Physics and Astronomy
Street Line 1: 
116 Church Street SE
Street Line 2: 
John T. Tate Hall
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

Job Class: Research Associate 5
Start Date: April 1, 2019
Location:   University of Minnesota, School of Physics and Astronomy

Application URL:

Application Deadline: By February 15, 2019 or until position filled.


Required: Employee must hold a Ph.D. in Physics, Astronomy or a related field and it is preferred that they have experience with high-energy astrophysics and/or high-energy physics instrumentation and data analysis.

The Postdoctoral Research Associate must have excellent analytical skills, excellent computer programming and hardware skills, the ability to manage multiple projects, excellent organizational, presentation and writing skills, and demonstrated self-motivation and creativity. While based in Minneapolis, the successful applicant will be expected to spend time at the VERITAS site for observing shifts.


The University of Minnesota has an opening for a research associate to work in the High Energy Astrophysics program. The researcher will work with Prof Lucy Fortson in the High Energy Astrophysics program in the School of Physics & Astronomy. The U of M is a collaborating institution on the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS), a ground-based gamma-ray observatory located at the FLWO basecamp of Mt. Hopkins, AZ. VERITAS probes the extreme physics of sources such as the jets of Active Galactic Nuclei, Starburst Galaxies and Supernova Remnants. The Minnesota group is also a member of CTA-US, the US team involved in the next generation gamma-ray array. The successful applicant would also be expected to contribute to the development of novel gamma-hadron separation techniques using machine learning. See detail on researcher duties below. The position would be for a one-year junior post-doc with expected renewal for a second year based on performance and funding.

Application Instructions:

We only accept on-line applications ( The position will ideally start by April 1, 2019 but is flexible. Applications will be accepted until position is filled.

Provide a cover letter, curriculum vitae, the names and complete contact information for three references, a research experience statement and an interest statement.

Additionally, have three letters of reference sent to:

Professor Lucy Fortson
School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Minnesota
116 Church Street SE
Minneapolis MN 55455

Detail on Researcher Duties:
The researcher’s duties will include the following:

10% Taking data collection shifts at the VERITAS telescope site. Participation in weekly working group calls and mentoring of undergraduates or graduate students as needed.
25% Analyze data using proprietary software to conduct investigations on VERITAS Blazar Science research program targets. Evaluate current techniques applied to Blazar analysis and modify as needed to carry out spectral investigations of key blazar targets; timing analyses will also be expected.  In addition, the work will also involve analysis of data taken in other wavebands that complement the VERITAS data sets as needed.
20% Implement machine learning techniques using gamma-ray data and simulations to develop novel approaches to improving gamma-hadron separation. Development of techniques using human classifiers from the Zooniverse platform is encouraged.
25% Based on the implementation of new techniques and analyses described above, prepare manuscripts for publication and work with journal editors/reviewers for publication of the full source analysis on several UMN Blazar and Radio Galaxy targets as well as any novel analysis or Machine Learning techniques.
20% Pursue self-motivated, open research related to gamma-ray astrophysics as defined by researcher in consultation with supervisor.

The University of Minnesota is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, or sexual orientation.

Application Deadline: 
Friday, February 15, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Professor Lucy Fortson