eNews: October-December 2013






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SKA Domain Specialist, Jodrell Bank Observatory (Deadline February 14, 2014)


Job Title: Domain Specialist (Operations)
Reference: DSO
Reports To: SKA Architect
Location: Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire, UK
Closing Date for applications: Closing date for receipt of completed applications is Friday 14th February 2014. For details of how to apply please see below.
Submission of applications: Email to jobs@skatelescope.org

Organisation Background
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a global project to build a multi-purpose radio telescope that will play a major role in answering key questions in modern astrophysics and cosmology. It will be one of a small number of cornerstone observatories around the world that will provide astrophysicists and cosmologists with a transformational view of the Universe. The SKA will be constructed in two distinct phases. The major science goals for the first phase, SKA1, will be to study the history and role of neutral Hydrogen in the Universe from the dark ages to the present-day, and to employ pulsars as probes of fundamental physics.

Since 2008, the global radio astronomy community has been engaged in the development of the SKA as a major part of the ‘Preparatory’ phase of the project. The Preparatory phase ended in December 2011 and, following a number of major changes, the international SKA project has now progressed to the ‘Pre-Construction’ phase (2012-15) with the establishment of a new legal entity, the SKA Organisation, on 14 December 2011. Ten governments are now participating in the project, with others engaged in discussions concerning possible membership. The SKA Organisation is now headquartered in a purpose-built building at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, UK.

General Description
The Office of the SKA Organisation (“SKA Office”) leads the SKA system design and oversees the detailed design being undertaken within the globally distributed SKA work packages (WPs). To accomplish this goal the SKA Office is employing highly qualified scientists and engineers, project managers and system engineers. Work packages for the major SKA subsystems (elements) have been be contracted to a small number of work package consortia who are responsible for the management, execution and delivery of the work packages. The technical strategy and philosophy of the project are strongly based on system engineering principles.

The Role
Domain specialists are staff with extensive experience in a particular field of interest to the SKA. They may cross work breakdown structure boundaries and advise more than one work package manager. They support the SKA Architect in the generation of the top-level requirements and any re-baselining activities. Domain specialists provide engineering performance analysis as well as costing and other information to work package managers.

We seek a Domain Specialist in the area of Telescope Operations to ensure that operational constraints and requirements are incorporated in the design of SKA1.

Key Duties, Accountabilities and Responsibilities

Under the direction of the SKA Architect the postholder will:

• Support the SKA Architect in the generation of the top-level requirements, design and any re-baselining activities.
• Provide engineering performance analysis as required.
• Provide updates and reports as necessary.
• Work with Work Package Consortia (WPC) or equivalent, as appropriate to provide guidance, advice and technical assistance in their domain area of expertise.
• As required, engage in design reviews.
• Participate in team projects, and to provide specialist assistance to working groups, colleagues and WPCs.
• Travel, as required, to any of the SKA countries.
• As required, provide advice and guidance to SKA Office Project Managers and System Engineers.
• Undertake training in the financial, occupational health and safety, and human resource management procedures applicable to the SKA or its partners.
• In collaboration with others in the SKA Office and appropriate external parties, document the results of investigations, planning and production of requirements for all aspects of SKA operations.
• As the SKA design work progresses, participate in the design of operations-related components and sub-systems, which as examples could include:
o Assembly/documentation of operational scenarios and use cases,
o Estimation of operations costs,
o Availability and reliability analysis, maintenance planning,
o Development of logistics planning and human resource deployment,
o Assistance with science operations planning,
o Human-machine interfaces (HMI),
o Safety procedures,
o Operations requirements.
• Undertake any other reasonable duties as directed by the post holder’s line manager or a member of SKA Organisation Senior Management Team.
Mandatory Qualifications, Experience and Knowledge:
• Recognised university degree-level education/training in engineering or physical sciences.
• If required or relevant, maintain or obtain status as a professional or chartered engineer.
• Analytical skills. Experience with analysis/simulation, design tools and programming languages related to technical operations analysis.
• Good English oral and written communication skills.
• Experience in presenting work orally at meetings and other forums.
• Demonstrated experience at a high level with practical day-to-day technical operations of a large science facility.
• Experience with strategic planning for operations of a large science facility.
Desirable Qualifications, Experience and Knowledge:
• Experience with operations of a radio astronomy or astronomy facility.
• Familiarity with radio astronomy or a closely allied field.
• Industry experience, and/or a track record in successful collaborative links with industry.
• Familiarity with the formalism for, and requirements of, quality control environments such as ISO9000.
For more information on the SKA project visit http://www.skatelescope.org. The SKA Organisation offers a competitive salary, a generous company pension scheme, annual bonus and a flexible benefits package. The successful applicant’s workplace will be located at the SKA Office at Jodrell Bank, UK.

How to apply:

Please send a CV and covering letter to jobs@skatelescope.org, quoting reference DSO. Applications should include a summary of project experience, addressing the mandatory and desirable requirements explicitly, a resume and the names of at least three professional references. Closing date for receipt of applications is Friday 14th February 2014.

2014 U of T Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Astronomy & Astrophysics (Deadline January 31, 2014)

The Astronomy group at the University of Toronto invites undergraduate students in Astronomy, Physics and Engineering to apply to our annual Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) – a unique opportunity for students to prepare for a career in scientific research.

Over the 16-week program, participants will:

  • Experience what a career in research is like by independently conducting a project related to on-going astronomical research at U of T
  • Collaborate with U of T astronomers
  • Improve their research writing and communication skills
  • Learn about research being conducted at U of T
  • Have an opportunity to participate in U of T public outreach activities

Students will work with astronomers from the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics (DAA), or the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA), depending on their research project or interest.

SURP offers students an opportunity to work at a leading centre for astronomical research in Canada. The astronomy group at the U of T is a unique alliance of three units with complementary expertise in observational research, astronomical instrumentation (Dunlap), and theoretical astrophysics (CITA).

The program runs from 5 May to 22 August, 2014. The deadline for applications is 31 January, and the official offer date is 7 February.

For full details and to apply, visit:




Le groupe d’Astronomie de l’Université de Toronto invite les étudiants de premier cycle en Astronomie, Physique et Ingénierie à candidater à notre Programme d’été de Recherche pour premier cycle Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP), une chance unique offerte aux étudiants pour préparer leur carrière dans le domaine de la recherche scientifique.

Pendant le programme de 16 semaines, les participants pourront :

  • Acquérir de l’expérience en recherche scientifique, en conduisant un projet relié à la recherche scientifique effectuée à l’Université de Toronto (UdeT)
  • Collaborer avec des astronomes de l’UdeT
  • Améliorer leurs compétences en matière de communication et rédaction scientifique
  • Mieux connaitre les recherches effectuées à l’UdeT
  • Participer aux activités d’information destinées au grand publique

Les étudiants travailleront en collaboration avec des astronomes de l’Institut Dunlap (Dunlap Institute), du Département d’Astronomie et d’Astrophysique (Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics DAA), ou l’Institut Canadien d’Astrophysique Théorique (Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics CITA), en fonction de leur projet de recherche et de leur intérêt.

Le programme SURP offre aux étudiants l’opportunité de travailler dans un centre majeur de recherche astronomique au Canada. Le groupe d’astronomie de l’UdeT est une alliance unique de trois unités ayant des expertises complémentaires en recherche observationnelle, en instrumentation astronomique (Dunlap), et en astrophysique théorique (CITA).

Le programme aura lieu du 5 Mai au 22 Août 2014. La date limite d’application au programme est le 31 Janvier, la date d’offre officielle sera envoyée le 7 Février.

Pour plus de détails, merci de visiter le site



SKA Postdoctoral Fellowships in Cosmic Magnetism, University of Cape Town (Deadline February 15, 2014)

SKA Postdoctoral Fellowships in Cosmic Magnetism
University of Cape Town and University of the Western Cape

The Department of Astronomy of the University of Cape Town and the University of the Western Cape are hosting postdoctoral positions in the area of Cosmic Magnetism, associated with the SKA Research Chair in Observational Radio Astronomy (chair holder: Prof Russ Taylor).

South Africa is constructing MeerKAT, a 64-dish radio interferometer serving as an SKA precursor (http://www.ska.ac.za) that will be completed in 2016. The construction of mid-frequency dish array for SKA phase 1, that will add 190 more dishes, should start around 2018.

The postdoctoral fellows will engage in observational programs in radio polarimetry, simulations, and scientific investigations that pathfind the SKA key science goal of the exploration of the origins and evolution of cosmic magnetic fields. In advance of MeerKAT commissioning and operation, opportunities exist for participation in the GALFACTS project – an all-sky spectro-polarimetric survey being undertaken with the Arecibo ALPHA system, the POSSUM polarization survey with the Australia SKA Pathfinder, and deep broad-band polarization imaging surveys with the JVLA and GMRT.

We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate interested in joining the steadily growing UCT and UWC astronomy departments. Applicants should have a Ph.D in astronomy, experience in observational radio astronomy either single dish or aperture synthesis, or a theoretical background in studies of cosmic magnetic fields.

Candidates will be asked to help out with light departmental duties (e.g. seminars), with postgraduate students’ supervision and with some outreach activities. The appointment is for two years, with possibilities of extension for an extra year, subject to sufficient progress. The salary is tax-free and at the top of the postdoc scale. Equipment and travel funding are available. Interested candidates should send a CV, bibliography, brief summary of research, outline of future plans, and arrange for three letters of recommendation to be sent by February 15, 2014. Applications will start to be considered from that date until the position is filled. Ideally, the position would start on July 1st 2014. Inquiries, applications and letters of recommendation should be sent by email to russ@ast.uct.ac.za.

Cape Town itself is a stunningly scenic and modern city at the junction of the
Atlantic and Indian Oceans, with vibrant urban culture, nearby beaches, mountains, exotic wildlife, and wine country.

Research Associate Position – NRC Herzberg (Deadline February 17, 2014)

The NRC Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Program (NRC Herzberg) requires a Postdoctoral Research Associate (RA) at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (DAO) in Victoria, BC. The successful candidate will be an outstanding recent doctoral graduate in astrophysics or a closely related discipline who is highly motivated to contribute to projects led by NRC Herzberg staff members and exploiting facilities administered by NRC for Canadian astronomers.

The successful candidate will:

• Work independently and perform original research in collaboration with NRC Herzberg staff members associated with the projects that are most relevant to the applicant’s area of expertise; in particular, he/she will help lead the scientific exploitation of projects that utilize the astronomical facilities and infrastructure whose Canadian access is administered by NRC-Herzberg, including:

1.      High contrast imaging of exoplanets and debris disks (Principal contact: Christian Marois)

2.      Characterization and multi-wavelength observations of Kuiper Belt Objects (Principal contact: JJ Kavelaars)

3.      Study of planet or star formation processes (Principal contact: Brenda Matthews)

4.      Resolved stellar population analysis of the Galaxy and its nearest neighbours (Principal contact: Alan McConnachie)

5.      Scientific exploitation of data taken as part of the Next Generation Virgo Cluster Survey (NGVS): (Principal contact: Laura Ferrarese)

• Keep an active engagement with the community to advance NRC Herzberg’s mandate. In particular, NRC Herzberg is a leading developer of instrumentation for ground and space-based telescopes (e.g., ALMA, CFHT, Gemini, JCMT, JWST, SKA, TMT), and is at the forefront of scientific data preservation, distribution and analysis techniques. The CADC, which is home to the Canadian Virtual Observatory, the CANFAR cloud computing network, and data archives including, e.g., CFHT, CGPS, Gemini, HST and JCMT, is also located at NRC Herzberg.

• Share with other RAs the organization of the weekly seminar series which runs Sept.-April

Applicants must have acquired their PhD within the last five years or expect to receive the degree within the next 6 months.

Applications should be made by 17 February 2014 via the process described at the URL provided.

Further project information available at : http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/careers/jobpost.nsf/EnglishAll/7A96552CD92CC21785257C2E005980ED

Closing date: 17 February

Please note that this information is available in French on our website at :  http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/careers/jobpost.nsf/FrenchAll/7A96552CD92CC21785257C2E005980ED

Le programme Astronomie et astrophysique Herzberg du CNRC (CNRC Herzberg) est à la recherche d’un(e) attaché(e) de recherche postdoctorale pour l’Observatoire fédéral d’astrophysique situé à Victoria, en Colombie-Britannique. Le ou la titulaire aura récemment réussi brillamment un doctorat en astrophysique ou dans une discipline connexe et désire ardemment contribuer aux projets menés par les membres du personnel du programme et utiliser les installations administrées par le CNRC pour les astronomes canadiens.

Le ou la candidat(e) retenu(e) devra :

• Travailler de façon autonome et mener de nouvelles recherches en collaboration avec les membres du personnel de CNRC Herzberg associés aux projets en lien avec son domaine d’expertise; plus particulièrement, il ou elle aidera à diriger l’exploitation scientifique de projets qui utilisent les installations et l’infrastructure d’astronomie administrées par le CNRC Herzberg, incluant :

1. Imagerie de contraste élevé d’exoplanètes et de disques de débris (contact principal :  Christian Marois)

2. Caractérisation et observations à de multiples longueurs d’onde des objets de la ceinture de Kuiper (contact principal : JJ Kavelaars)

3. Étude des processus de formation des étoiles ou des planètes (contact principal :  Brenda Matthews)

4. Analyse de la population stellaire résolue du système satellite de la Voie lactée, du Groupe local et d’autres galaxies à proximité (contact principal :  Alan McConnachie)

5. Exploitation scientifique des données recueillies dans le cadre de l’étude de nouvelle génération de l’amas de la Vierge ou NGVS (contact principal :  Laura Ferrarese)

• S’engager activement auprès de la collectivité pour faire progresser le mandat de CNRC Herzberg. Plus précisément, CNRC Herzberg est un chef de file en matière de développement d’instrumentation pour les télescopes situés dans l’espace ou sur terre (p. ex. ALMA, TCFH, Gemini, le télescope spatial James Webb, le Square Kilometer Array [SKA], le télescope de trente mètres [TMT]) ainsi qu’en matière de techniques de préservation, de distribution et d’analyse des données scientifiques. Le Centre canadien de données astronomique (CCDA) qui abrite l’Observatoire virtuel canadien, le réseau infonuagique CANFAR et les archives de données comprenant, entre autres, celles du TCFH, du ECPG, de Gemini, du TSH et du télescope JCM, est également situé à CNRC Herzberg;

• Partager avec les autres attaché(e)s de recherche à l’organisation des séminaires hebdomadaires qui ont lieu de septembre à avril.

Les candidat(e)s doivent avoir obtenu leur doctorat en astronomie ou dans une discipline connexe dans les 5 dernières années ou s’attendre à l’obtenir dans les 6 prochains mois.

Les demandes devraient être faites d’ici au 17 février 2014 via le processus décrit à l’adresse Internet fournie.

Plus d’information au sujet du poste est disponible à : http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/careers/jobpost.nsf/FrenchAll/7A96552CD92CC21785257C2E005980ED

Date limite de réception des demandes :  17 février 2014

Veuillez être avisé que cette information est disponible en anglais sur notre site Internet à l’adresse suivante :  http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/careers/jobpost.nsf/EnglishAll/7A96552CD92CC21785257C2E005980ED

Phosphorus in the Young Supernova Remnant Cassiopeia A

An international team of astronomers, including Prof. Dae-Sik Moon at the University of Toronto, has measured for the first time the abundance of phosphorus created in a supernova explosion.

The team’s observational results show that phosphorus is 100 times more abundant in the remains left over from a supernova than elsewhere in the galaxy, confirming that massive exploding stars are the crucibles in which the element is created.

Astronomers have measured the abundance of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulphur in supernovae remnants before. But this is the first measurement of the relatively scarce phosphorus.

“These five elements are essential to life and can only be created in massive stars,” says Moon, co-author of the paper being published in the journal Science on December 13, 2013.

“They are scattered throughout our galaxy when the star explodes, and they become part of other stars, planets and ultimately, humans,” says Moon. “This is why Carl Sagan said we are made of ‘starstuff’. Now we have measured how much of this particular element of starstuff is created in supernovae.”

Moon is in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics at the U of T. Other members of the research team include lead author Bon-Chul Koo, Yong Hyun Lee and Sung-Chul Yoon of Seoul National University in Korea, and John Raymond of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

The observations were of the remnant of a supernova believed to have been observed over 300 years ago. Called Cassiopeia A (Cas A), it lies at a distance of about 11,000 light-years.

Astronomers believe the original star was between 15 and 25 times the mass of the Sun. When a star of such mass runs out of the hydrogen that it burns to produce energy, the core of the star goes through a sequence of collapses, synthesizing heavier elements with each collapse.

Moon and his colleagues made their observations using the TripleSpec near-infrared spectrograph on the Palomar 5-metre Hale telescope. The instrument—which Moon co-developed—allowed the team to directly compare the spectral lines of phosphorus and iron and, thus, calculate the abundance ratio of the two.

Carl Sagan knew that this starstuff is the “…the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood.” Now, Moon and his colleagues have directly measured the starstuff that is the phosphorus in our DNA and our bones.


Prof. Dae-Sik Moon
Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics
University of Toronto
e: moon@astro.utoronto.ca
p: 416-978-6566

Chris Sasaki
Public Information Officer
Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics
University of Toronto
e: csasaki@dunlap.utoronto.ca
p: 416-978-6613

The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Toronto, continues the legacy of the David Dunlap Observatory: by developing innovative astronomical instrumentation, including for the largest, most advanced telescopes in the world; by training the next generation of astronomers; and by fostering public engagement in science. The research of its faculty and postdoctoral fellows includes the discovery of exoplanets, the formation of stars, galactic nuclei, the evolution and nature of galaxies, the early Universe and the Cosmic Microwave Background, and the Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

Special Instructions: For image for splash page, visit http://dunlap.utoronto.ca/for-the-media/downloads/ Password: CasA

Dean, Faculty of Science – University of Manitoba (Deadline: open until position is filled)

The University of Manitoba invites nominations and applications for the position of Dean, Faculty of Science.

Celebrated as Western Canada’s first university, the University of Manitoba is the largest university in Manitoba and the only medical-doctoral institution in the province. As a member of Canada’s U15 group of research universities, its community of approximately 29,000 students, 3,800 academic faculty and staff, and 4,600 non-academic staff contributes $1.8 billion annually to Manitoba’s economy. For more information, visit www.umanitoba.ca.

The Faculty of Science is home to more than 200 faculty and staff, 4082 undergraduate students, and 364 graduate students. This collegial community is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the wide range of disciplines found in this comprehensive, research-intensive Faculty. Dedicated to exemplary teaching and outstanding research, the faculty are highly attuned to the complex issues facing the world of science today, and, in their research activity, push the boundaries of knowledge as they grow and build the Faculty’s reputation for world-class research and science education. For details on the Faculty, and its accolades to date, please visit www.umanitoba.ca/science.

With ambitious plans for the future, the Faculty of Science is seeking, as its next Dean, an individual who will provide visionary leadership, encourage collegiality, and develop strategic relationships which will enable the Faculty to prosper in these changing and challenging times. Exemplifying strong scientific values and a passion for innovation and discovery, the new Dean will champion continuing success. Possessing the ability to promote and support academic excellence and research productivity, candidates must have an outstanding record of scholarly achievement, a Ph.D. in a relevant discipline, solid administrative experience, and an ability to strategically manage resources toward the fulfillment of a vision for the Faculty as one of the leaders in Canada.  The Dean reports to the Vice-President (Academic) and Provost, and is a member of the university’s senior leadership team.

The University of Manitoba is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.  Applications are encouraged from qualified applicants including members of visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples, people with disabilities, people of all sexual orientations and genders, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of the university.  All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority.

Consideration of candidates begins in January 2014. Inquiries or applications, in confidence, should be directed to Gerri Woodford or Jason Murray at uofmsci@odgersberndtson.ca.

Tenure Track Faculty Position (Astronomy) at Mount Allison University (Deadline: January 31, 2014)

The Physics Department at Mount Allison University invites applications for a tenure-track position, with primary responsibilities for teaching and research in the area of astronomy. Applicants must possess a Ph.D. in astronomy, astrophysics, or a closely related area, and have a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching and research. The successful candidate will teach courses in our undergraduate program in the areas of astronomy, astrophysics, and general physics. The successful candidate will have a rigorous research program capable of both attracting external funding and involving undergraduate students. Mount Allison University is a highly rated, primarily undergraduate institution with an active and diverse Physics Department. Mount Allison’s on-campus observatory offers opportunities for teaching, outreach, and some niche research. The ability to work in an observatory setting would be an asset. The appointment will be made at the rank of Assistant Professor and wi!
ll commence on July 1, 2014, subject to budgetary approval.

A complete application package will be submitted to Academic Jobs Online, https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/3647. The application will include a letter of application, curriculum vitae, statement of current and planned research, and statement of teaching interests and philosophy. Evidence of effective teaching is required. The application will include three letters of reference (uploaded directly by the referees themselves). The names and contact information for these three referees will be provided in the letter of application. Applications are due by January 31, 2014.

For more information, please contact:
Dr. David Fleming
Physics Department Head Mount Allison University
62 York St. Sackville, New Brunswick E4L 1E2 Email: dfleming@mta.ca http://www.mta.ca/physics/

Mount Allison University welcomes diversity in the workplace and encourages applications from all qualified women and men, including aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority. Canadian and permanent residents should indicate their citizenship status in their letter of application.