The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) invites applications for up to four postdoctoral positions to work with Drs. Martha Boyer, Christopher Clark, Claire Murray, Karl Gordon, and collaborators. The successful applicant(s) will work closely as part of the dynamic, welcoming, and inclusive ISM*@STSCI group (https://www.ismstar.space) that includes Drs. Martha Boyer, Christopher Clark, Karoline Gilbert, Karl Gordon, Claire Murray, Joshua Peek, Julia Roman-Duval, Eddie Schlafly, Erik Tollerud, and a number of postdocs and graduate students. The ISM*@ST group has broad scientific interests centered on the interstellar medium, from dust-producing stars, to the gas and dust in the interstellar and circum-galactic medium. This research will involve working with, and if possible proposing for, observations with Hubble, JWST, and ground-based facilities. The successful applicant(s) will work on one of four different projects:
- Using HST data from the Local UltraViolet to Infrared Treasury (LUVIT) program, this project will investigate the evolution of evolved stars at low metallicity. This work will involve simulating about 20 nearby galaxies using the TRILEGAL code to test and calibrate the Padova stellar evolution models of massive helium-burning stars and intermediate-mass asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars. This project will be with Martha Boyer.
- Analyzing dust and stellar populations in nearby galaxies using multi-wavelength imaging from the Hubble Space Telescope and JWST. This project will involve modeling thousands of individual stars using the Bayesian Extinction and Stellar Tool (BEAST) to constrain the properties and morphology of dust, as well as intrinsic properties of stars, in a selection of local galaxies. The work will be with Chris Clark and Claire Murray.
- Using new JWST near- and mid-infrared observations of nearby galaxies M101 & M51 to understand what drives the creation, destruction, and evolution of PAHs. This project will entail using imaging observations to map and characterize the AGB stars that produce PAHs, the relative emission from various PAH features, the intensity & hardness of the surrounding radiation field, and the properties of the local dust & gas. By combining all of this data, we want to understand why exactly the abundance of PAHs can vary so dramatically, especially as a function of metallicity. This work will be with Chris Clark and Martha Boyer.
- Measure the ultraviolet through mid-infrared interstellar dust extinction curves mainly based on Hubble and JWST spectroscopy of Milky Way sightlines to expand our knowledge of interstellar dust. This work will measure and model the first JWST NIR and MIR extinction curves (WISCI and MEAD programs), extend these JWST extinction curves to the ultraviolet using new Hubble and existing archival observations, and measure dust extinction in the ultraviolet and optical at extreme values of R(V) probing sightlines with the smallest and largest average dust grain sizes. The work will be with Karl Gordon and Marjorie Decleir.
The successful applicant(s) will work on the measurements and/or scientific analysis of these projects. Part of the time may be available for independent research or new projects in related areas.
The successful applicant(s) will benefit from the career mentoring program at STScI, interactions with the Johns Hopkins University research staff, and a stimulating work environment rich in colloquia, journal clubs, symposia, and learning opportunities related to the missions supported by STScI (HST, JWST, Roman, MAST).
Applicants must hold a Ph.D. degree in Astronomy, Physics, Planetary Science, or related fields at the start of the post-doctoral researcher position. Research experience in the areas of imaging, spectroscopy, nearby galaxies, evolved stars, interstellar and/or circumgalactic gas and dust is desirable. Expertise in numerical methods, statistics, and/or comparing observations to numerical simulations is a plus. More important is the willingness to take on new projects, learn new skills, and work independently to bring these projects to fruition.
The positions are for two years, with a possible renewal for a third year, depending on performance and availability of funding. The nominal start date is Summer/Fall 2024. STScI, located on Johns Hopkins University Campus in Baltimore, Maryland, offers an excellent benefit package (including comprehensive healthcare and paid parental leave), competitive salaries, relocation assistance and a stimulating work environment. STScI’s pay for postdoctoral researchers is commensurate to the year of Ph.D. We especially welcome applications from women, minorities, veterans, LBGTQ+ people, and other members of underrepresented groups.
Prospective applicants should complete an on-line application through: https://stsci.slideroom.com/#/permalink/program/76308
The following materials are requested in a single PDF file: a brief cover letter detailing your research interests and relevant expertise, a curriculum vitae, a list of publications, and a summary of previous and current research (limited to 3 pages). Complete applications received by January 15, 2024, will receive full consideration. Applicants should arrange for three confidential letters of reference to be submitted by January 19, 2024 via the online application system.
Questions regarding the application process can be sent directly to [email protected].
STScI sees the diversity of our staff as a strategic priority in our desire to create a first-rate scientific community. We reflect that deep commitment in strongly encouraging women, minorities, veterans and disabled individuals to apply for these opportunities. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, STScI does not discriminate because of race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, or mental or physical handicap. Veterans, disabled or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process can contact us at [email protected].