Postdoctoral Researcher - Observational Galaxy Evolution

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Saturday, November 4, 2023
Archive Date: 
Saturday, December 16, 2023
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Large Academic
Penn State University
Department Name: 
Astronomy and Astrophysics
University Park
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics of The Pennsylvania State University has an opening for up to two Postdoctoral Scholars to work with Dr. Joel Leja to work on various topics related to galaxy evolution and formation at z > 1. The candidate will work with a mixture of proprietary and public Cycle 1 and Cycle 2 JWST data. A central focus is JWST-GO-4233, a ~60-hour JWST/NIRSpec spectroscopic survey providing (a) ~100 spectra of the most rare, extreme, and unknown red objects at high redshift, a 4 micron flux-limited sample of 1200 galaxies spanning 2<z<7, and an additional 3800 targeted high-redshift galaxies selected to enable population-level studies of the z>5 interstellar medium and star formation properties.

Depending on the skills and interests of the candidate, additional potential topics include:

  • building and executing spatially resolved analysis of galaxy photometry and spectra with ML-powered analysis;
  • population-level studies of the first galaxies in the first JWST deep fields;
  • inference of the luminosities, timescales, and properties of exotic phases of stellar evolution using distant galaxies as laboratories;
  • novel analysis of chemical and star formation history properties of z~2 galaxies within the exciting large-scale PFS spectroscopic survey, first light 2024.

The successful candidate will join the vibrant and large research community at Penn State, including over 60 faculty and faculty affiliates and nearly 50 graduate students. They will benefit from interactions with the Center for Astrostatistics, the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences, and the Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos, and will have access to the Roar supercomputing facility.

Education and Experience

A PhD in Physics, Astronomy, or a closely related field is required. Previous experience with spectral fitting, population studies, machine learning, Bayesian statistics, and high-dimensional sampling is desirable but not required.

Additional Information

Applications must be submitted electronically and include a single PDF file containing a CV, cover letter, and statement of research interests. In addition, please arrange for three reference letters to be sent to [email protected]. Applications will be accepted until December 15, 2023. This is a term appointment funded for one year from date of hire with the possibility of annual renewals for up to a total of three years. Salary will be commensurate with experience.

Interested candidates are to apply directly online at:

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Included Benefits: 

Information regarding benefits may be found at

Application Deadline: 
Friday, December 15, 2023
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Dr. Joel Leja
Inquiries About Job