The Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research (MKI) at MIT seeks a scientist with interests in observational research and computational science related to exoplanets and transient astrophysics. The successful applicant will work under the direction of Dr. George Ricker, and will be expected to participate in the satellite science operations and discovery team in assessing the scientific data from the MIT-led Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which was launched by NASA in April 2018 and is operating successfully. TESS is expected to discover thousands of exoplanets in orbit around the brightest stars in the sky. This first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey of the solar neighborhood will identify planets ranging from Earth- to Jupiter-sized, orbiting stars with stellar types and temperatures spanning a wide range. In addition, the full frame images from TESS will provide precise photometry of more than 300 million stars and galaxies during its initial two-year survey. TESS’s exquisite photometric stability and sensitivity is already enabling detection of a broad range of astrophysical transients, including cataclysmic variables, novae and supernovae, as well as addressing topics in multi-messenger astronomy. Plans are in preparation for a proposed mission extension for TESS, extending at least into late 2022.
The TESS Team at MKI includes a number of researchers studying exoplanets, stellar and galactic astronomy, and high energy astronomy--including members of groups directed by Professor Sara Seager, Professor Saul Rappaport, and Professor Ian Crossfield. Research collaborators also include active participants in the MIT Department of Physics and Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. MKI is a partner in the twin 6.5-m Magellan telescopes, which boast an array of world-class optical and infrared instruments. The successful applicant will be invited to propose for MKI time on Magellan.
Applicants must have a Ph.D. in astrophysics, astronomy, or a related field of physics or computational science. Applicants with experience in observational or computational astronomy, especially optical and infrared, are encouraged to apply. An interest in large data sets--including development and application of deep learning methods--is highly desirable, as are skills in Python.
Applicants should submit a CV, publications list, and brief research statement (no more than 4 pages) via the MIT career portal to position 16952, and arrange to have three letters of reference sent electronically to: Ms. Amanda Holley (email@example.com). PDF format is strongly preferred. Questions may be directed to Dr. Ricker (firstname.lastname@example.org), with whom interviews may be requested at the AAS 266th Meeting Career Center in Seattle during January 6-10, 2019.
Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. The start date is nominally Spring or Fall 2019. The appointment is for two years, renewable for additional periods depending on performance and funding.
MIT is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin.