The Institute of Astronomy, KU Leuven, invites applications for a postdoctoral position in the field of astrochemistry and exoplanets, under the supervision of Prof. Leen Decin in the interdisciplinary ESCHER (Extraterrestrial Prebiotic Chemistry, fys.kuleuven.be/ster/research-projects/escher) project.
The postdoctoral project
While the relative contribution of geochemical and geothermal effects, tidal effects, thunderbolts, ultraviolet (UV) light, etc as mechanisms for the origin of life has not yet been accurately pinned down, recent studies advocate the idea that high ultraviolet levels on primordial Earth were not an obstacle to the origin of life but a selective factor that, in fact, might have driven the whole process. As such, we need to identify general constraints on which stars provide sufficient UV for photochemistry and which fraction of UV light reaches the (exo)planet surface. In addition, outgassing of volatiles from the planetary interior impacts the atmospheric composition. The objective of this position is to determine the abundance of simple molecules as a function of height for an ensemble of exoplanet conditions taking account of different UV and outgassing scenarios using state-of-the-art global circulation models (GCMs or climate models). The output of these complex models will feed the innovative open-access deep-learning EXoGAN algorithm which uses artificial intelligence to retrieve the hydrodynamical and chemical composition from exoplanet observations of current and near-future (JWST) observations.
The initial contract runs over 2 years (with the possibility for prolongation) with preferred starting date September 2020. More detailed description of the project and application instructions can be found on https://fys.kuleuven.be/ster/vacancies#PD_ESCHER
© 2019 American Astronomical Society