2 Postdoctoral postions in transient research with the TARDIS Collaboration

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Thursday, November 17, 2022
Archive Date: 
Thursday, January 12, 2023
To event remaining 41 days
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Large Academic
Michigan State University
Street Line 1: 
567 Wilson Rd
Street Line 2: 
Biomedical & Physical Sciences Building
Street Line 3: 
East Lansing
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The TARDIS radiative transfer group at Michigan State University is inviting applications to two postdoctoral positions in various aspects of transient and computational astrophysics. 

TARDIS group at Michigan State University

The TARDIS group is actively developing a radiative-transfer open-science framework (https://tardis-sn.github.io/) to understand the physics of astrophysical transients using data from current (ZTF, HST, JWST) and next-generation telescopes/surveys (LSST, WFIRST). The group has a specific focus on Type Ia progenitor problems, nucleosynthesis in neutron star mergers, progenitors of stripped core-collapse supernovae, and cosmology using Type IIP supernovae. 

Addressing these scientific questions requires the development of machine learning and statistical methodology. Thus, the larger global TARDIS collaboration encompasses not only astrophysicists but also accomplished researchers in statistics, neural networks, and general machine learning. The group at MSU is jointly based in the Department of Physics and Astronomy as well as the new interdisciplinary Department of Computational Mathematics, Science, and Engineering. 

Specifically, the group has developed a framework that can transform spectral time series into a physically-realistic and data-driven model. One of the components is the neural network-based Dalek (https://github.com/tardis-sn/dalek) accelerator. Another is statistical inference using nested sampling. 

Primary duties

This group is actively developing an open-source framework that will allow for the analysis of supernova spectra at many phases. The group has funding to fill two roles for two major projects which the successful candidates will respectively work on: 

Inference of the white dwarf mass from existing JWST and HST spectra. The project will require the extension of physics in TARDIS to model late time spectra.

Reconstruction of the explosions of hydrogen-poor supernovae from existing and future data. The project requires the extension of TARDIS for helium ionization/excitation as well as pushing the development of the Dalek ML framework.

Both positions (specifically their scientific output) rely heavily on the TARDIS radiative transfer framework, and successful applicants will be expected to contribute to the construction/maintenance of the framework.

Professional Development

The TARDIS group at Michigan State University puts a strong emphasis on professional development and mentorship. We expect successful applicants to take active leadership roles in shaping the group and mentoring both graduate and undergraduate students. The TARDIS group does not expect the applicants to have existing experience in leadership and mentoring but will provide training for both. The group also sets up a mentorship plan for incoming new members which is linked to the astronomy department mentorship program. The professional development includes training in paper and grant writing, research presentations, and networking. 


Candidates must hold a Ph.D. degree in astronomy, physics, or a related subject by the appointment start, which would be no later than Fall 2023. We strongly encourage candidates from underrepresented groups to apply.

We particularly encourage applicants with a demonstrated track record in open science, including open-source software development and open data sets. Experience with radiative transfer methods is preferred, but not essential.

Appointment length

The initial appointment will be for one year and will be renewable for two (and potentially more) additional years upon mutual agreement.

Minimum Salary: $50,637

Application process

Applicants should submit a brief cover letter describing their interest in the position and optionally proposing personal research projects using TARDIS, CV including thesis title, publication list, if applicable: mentorship experience and/or contributions to open source/open science (including to TARDIS at github.com/tardis-sn/tardis) . 

Applicants should provide contact details for three references. At a later stage (potentially end of January 2023), we will request letters from these references. Applications submitted by Dec 1st, 2022 will receive full consideration but the position will remain open until filled. 

Please submit to https://careers.msu.edu/en-us/job/512906

Michigan State University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity institution.

For any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to Prof. Wolfgang Kerzendorf ([email protected])

Pay Compensation
Salary Min: 
$50637.00 (USD)
Application Deadline: 
Sunday, January 15, 2023
Selection Deadline: 
Friday, February 10, 2023
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Wolfgang Kerzendorf
Department Name: