The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a global project to build a multi-purpose radio telescope that will play a major role in answering key questions in modern astrophysics and cosmology. Thirteen countries are now participating in the project, with others engaged in discussions regarding possible membership. Facilities for the new telescope will be located in South Africa and Australia, with our headquarters in a purpose-built building at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire, UK. SKA HQ currently houses around 90 staff but has just undergone a major expansion to accommodate up to 150 staff as the project moves towards construction and operation of the SKA telescopes.
Negotiations between the governments of SKA member countries to establish the SKA Observatory as an Inter-Governmental Organisation (IGO) have recently concluded; the IGO is expected to be established in late 2020.
This post is a Postdoctoral research position in precision cosmology using fast radio bursts.
This position will be a 3-year full-time 100-percent research role within the SKA Science Team, working with Dr. Evan Keane. The role involves research in the field of Fast Radio Burst (FRB) science as part of the SUPERHeRO project; this is funded by a grant from Fondation MERAC. The goals of this project are to increase the precision with which one can use FRBs as cosmological probes, with an emphasis on the Helium Epoch of Reionization. In particular three main lines of investigation will be pursued: 1. improving models of the Milky Way's electron density distribution; 2. understanding artefacts and biases in the observed FRB population as a result of the systems used to find them; 3. "FRB Origins" - understanding the progenitors of FRBs, e.g. through studies of their environments. Additionally, time will be available for the pursuit of other related research pursuits.
Key Responsibilities, Accountabilities and Duties
The main responsibility of the role is to perform research so as to progress the field of FRB cosmology towards being a precision science in pursuit of the goals of the SUPERHeRO project. It is expected that knowledge from traditional observational cosmology will be integrated with knowledge from traditional radio astronomy to improve the potential for performing FRB cosmology. The results obtained from this work will be published in the scientific literature. The role is based at SKA Headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, UK. No travel is required as part of this role. Support for Carbon-offset travel is available for attendance at conferences, workshops, meetings and for collaborative visits, if desired.
Mandatory Knowledge, Skills and Experience
- PhD in radio astronomy, astrophysics or a closely related discipline
- A track record of publication in one or more of the following areas: fast radio bursts, interstellar medium, cosmology.
- Expertise in software programming, analytical and numerical modelling
- Familiarity with Milky Way electron density models
- Familiarity with time-domain radio astronomy observing systems
- Excellent communication and inter-personal skills
- Flexible team player who is adaptable to change, able to work independently and as part of a team.
Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience
- Experience in the quantification of cosmology foregrounds
- Experience in algorithms used to detect fast radio bursts
- Experience in radio frequency interference mitigation
- A track record of observations of fast radio burst sites
Equal Opportunities Statement
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion are at the core the SKA's agenda and we are committed to being an equal opportunities employer. Our aim to is recruit and retain the most talented individuals, regardless of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, religion or nationality.
Women have traditionally been under-represented in the fields of science and engineering; SKA Organisation welcomes and encourages female applicants.
Where applicants with a disability need facilities or adjustments to enable them to participate in the recruitment process, these will be provided.