Two PhD Scholarship in Astronomy and Astrophysics

Lund University is delighted to offer a PhD position in environmental sciences. The funds for this fellowship are available for four years. This position is closed on December 01, 2018.

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Sciences. The Faculty is organized into nine departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees.

The activities of the Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics are centred around three main areas: Astronomy and Astrophysics; Theoretical Particle Physics; and Computational Biology and Biological Physics. Our research is driven by our curiosity to understand reality, from the smallest of particles to the largest astronomical structures, as well as the structure of Life itself. We have a strong international position in all three areas, and we are actively working on further strengthening our international profile.

We announce two PhD positions in Astronomy and Astrophysicsat the Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics.

(1) The student will participate in the Gaia data processing for future data releases, especially improving the calibration models as well as characterizing the quality of the catalogue. Specific topics could include the accuracy of the Gaia reference frame and the parallax zero point, spatial systematic errors and proper motion patterns. Deviations in proper motions of sources between different catalogue releases can be used to indicate the presence of binary or exoplanet systems. Exploitation of the Gaia results for Galactic dynamic studies using insights into the expected correlated errors among the astrometric data is encouraged. This will be especially important when combining data for many stars (for example in clusters), where even small correlations, if not taken into account, may lead to severe underestimation of the actual uncertainties of the results.

(2) The student will run numerical simulations of the dynamics of massive particle discs orbiting around young gas giants and ice giants. Such discs may form at the planet formation stage as pebbles of ice and dust are accreted towards the planet and build up a dense circumplanetary disc due to the conservation of angular momentum. The disc material will mainly reside within the Roche limit where gravitational collapse to form moons is not possible due to the strong tidal force. The student will simulate how such a ring expands outwards due to collisions between the particles and how the outer regions collapse gravitationally to form moons. Such moons will migrate away from the planet due to tides from the remaining disc and this way entire moon systems can form.

The position is open to students of all nationalities who, at the time of starting the PhD studies, have obtained a Masters degree in astronomy, physics or in other ways obtained the equivalent qualifications. In case of uncertainty concerning the applicant’s eligibility, it is advisable to contact the department for clarification. The discipline curriculum for postgraduate studies in Astronomy and astrophysics is found at

Good knowledge in spoken and written English is required.

Regulations concerning appointment as a doctoral Studentship can be found in the Swedish Code of Statues 1998:80. To be accepted for postgraduate studies, a student must be judged to have the competence necessary to complete a PhD during the tenure of the appointment. In addition to pursuing postgraduate studies, the doctoral student may be required to perform other duties – including research, teaching and administration – according to the specific regulations.

Candidates should send a curriculum vitae (including a transcript of academic grades) and a brief statement of research interest. The application should also include the names, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of two persons who have agreed to serve as a reference for the applicant. Note that reference letters should not be sent to us in connection with the application; we will contact the reference persons when required.

Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7.


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