Postdoctoral Fellow in Numerical Simulations (Deadline January 1, 2014)

SARChI Postdoctoral Fellow in Numerical Simulations
University of Cape Town

The Department of Astronomy of the University of Cape Town is hosting a postdoctoral position in the area of Numerical Simulations, associated with the South African Research Chair in Extragalactic Multi-wavelength Astronomy (chair holder: Prof Claude Carignan). South Africa is constructing MeerKAT, a 64-dish radio interferometer serving as an SKA precursor ( that should be completed in 2016. The construction of SKA-mid, phase 1, that will add 190 more dishes, should start around 2018. The candidate is expected to pursue three paths of research.

First, the candidate is expected to produce high-resolution simulations of barred galaxies, in support of a PhD project that started in September 2013 (PhD student at UCT: Toky Randriamampandry). The aim is to produce simulations of barred galaxies to fully model the effect of the bar on the HI-derived rotation curves. We will also test decomposition methods based on harmonic expansions of the velocity field (Maciejewski et al., 2012, MNRAS, 427, 3427 / Krajnovic et al., 2006, MNRAS, 366, 787), as well as the specially written software package DISKFIT (Spekkens & Sellwood 2007), in order to find the best way to recover the mass distribution of barred systems.

A second part of the work will be to prepare the SKA arrival, by building mock HI observations from simulations using a radiative transfer code, to emphasize the SKA ability to draw a global cosmological evolution scenario through dynamical analysis and make observational predictions of physical processes only perceptible with the SKA resolution and sensitivity. This part will require the development of software able to simulate the SKA telescope, in conjunction with a radiative transfer code. Finally, the candidate is expected to spend the last third of his time on his own research projects.

We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate interested in joining the steadily growing UCT astronomy department, which has 12 postdoctoral fellows. We expect that the tools to be used to perform the numerical simulations will be the Adaptive Mesh Refinement code RAMSES, as well as the Smooth Particles Hydrodynamics code GADGET3. These two codes are heavily parallel, so require access to the South African Centre for High Performance Computing (

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. A PhD in astronomy and experience with astronomical numerical simulations is required. 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 January 1st, 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 to: Cape Town itself is a stunningly scenic and fully modern city with nearby beaches, mountains, exo!
tic wildlife, wine country, and is the safest city in South Africa.

“This position is based upon research supported by the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) of the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation.”

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.