Postdoc Positions in the Galaxies and Cosmology Department of the MPIA

We anticipate to fill the following postdoc and fellowship positions with starting dates by Autumn 2021, under the corresponding job ad listed at the AAS job register (see here), deadline: 02 December 2020. Details on the available positions are given below. Please do not hesitate to directly contact the MPIA staff listed in case you have any questions. Generic questions can be directed to the chair of the search committee, Dr. Tom Herbst (

Independent MPIA research fellowship positions:

a) At least one independent post-doctoral research fellowship position.
We seek candidates to conduct excellent independent research related to one or more of the research areas covered by the various research groups in the Galaxies and Cosmology Department.

Post-doc positions in MPIA research groups:

b) One post-doc to work on dynamics in the Milky Way Mapping Group of Dr. Gregory Green.
Gregory Green's group focuses on the structure and dynamics of the Milky Way, in order to understand an exemplar of a large spiral galaxy. Ongoing advances in the availability of stellar data are revolutionizing our understanding of the Milky Way. Large amounts of stellar astrometric and spectroscopic data, from Gaia, the SDSS-V Milky Way Mapper and other spectroscopic surveys are now becoming available, or will soon be available. The Milky Way Mapping group is looking for a post-doc to work on modeling the coupled stellar distribution function and gravitational potential of the Galaxy, in order to understand the distribution of total mass (baryonic and dark). The power of this approach will come from the comparison of the dynamically inferred total mass distribution in the Galaxy with the stellar mass distribution. We are looking for candidates with a background in dynamics. Familiarity with high-performance computing and machine learning is preferred.

c) Two post-doc positions in the Research Group of Dr. Hans-Walter Rix.
Our research group aims to understand galaxy evolution, in particular through studying the Milky Way as a model organism for galaxies. Over the next years, SDSS-V - the first all-sky, multi-epoch spectroscopic survey, just starting its observations - will be a particular focus, in conjunction with the upcoming Gaia data releases. We seek to understand the dynamics of the Galactic disk, through the detailed structure of the stellar orbit and abundance distribution. And we will use the stellar spectra to advance our understanding of stellar physics. We would expect experience and interest in either dynamics, stellar spectral analysis, or (large survey data) modelling. One of the two positions should be focussed on characterizing the Gaia selection function, which is indispensible for dynamical and population studies that can exploit the full information content of the Gaia data set.

d) One post-doc position in the ERC group H1PStars to work with Dr. Richard Anderson.
The newly set up ERC group H1PStars led by Richard Anderson is inviting applications for a 3-year postdoctoral position to investigate systematic uncertainties involving distance measurements based on variable stars. The successful candidate will have significant experience in precision photometry using state-of-the-art space- and ground-based facilities. Hands-on experience in crowded field photometry with the Hubble space telescope, scene modeling, variable star photometry, and/or expertise relevant for the James Webb space telescope will be particularly useful. Where relevant, applicants should include a brief statement on projects they wish to work on independently and how these may complement the team's focus towards measuring cosmic distances and Hubble's constant accurately.

e) Two post-doc positions in the Lise Meitner / ERC funded research group of Dr. Maria Bergemann.
Our activities span a broad range of topics, from modelling and physics of stellar atmospheres, to quantitative stellar spectroscopy, evolution of the Milky Way, and cosmic nucleosynthesis. The advertised positions will be funded through the ERC StG project ELEMENTS that aims to study the astrophysical origins of heavy elements. Experience and interest in any of the following: radiative transfer (3D, Non-LTE), atomic / molecular data calculations, Galactic chemical evolution (modelling, observations), stellar surveys (design, execution), would be considered an asset.

f) One post-doc position in the group of Dr. Tom Herbst.
The SDSS-V Local Volume Mapper is an ambitious experiment to map the entire southern Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds with unprecedented wavelength and spatial coverage, with the overall goal to understand the injection of energy and matter from star formation into the interstellar medium. The goal is to be on sky within a couple of years, and the MPIA has taken responsibility for delivering the four LVM telescope systems. The extreme breadth and coverage of the survey require unique characteristics and performance from the telescopes. The research group of Tom Herbst is seeking a talented and ambitious post-doctoral to work on all phases of this project, from initial design through construction and alignment, to commissioning and early science demonstration. The position will be for 3-4 years. We are particularly seeking candidates with experience in optics and mechanics, instrumentation development, and observatory commissioning.

g) Two post-doc positions in the Galaxies and Cosmology Theory Group with Dr. Frederick Davies.
The new Max Planck Research Group will focus primarily on studies of the intergalactic medium, high-redshift quasar activity, and the epochs of hydrogen and helium reionization. One of the key themes will be leveraging forward-modeling from numerical simulations (e.g. cosmological/hydrodynamical with 1D/3D radiative transfer) to perform statistical inference from existing and upcoming data, including Lyman-series forest spectra and future JWST observations of the most distant galaxies and quasars. Ideal candidates would have experience in analysis and/or development of numerical simulations or models, and an interest in the first billion years of cosmic time.

Last modified: Mon Sep 25 2020