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Post-doctoral position in astrophysics of Cepheids in binary systems

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral position at the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center of the Polish Science Academy (CAMK PAN), in Warsaw, Poland, to study the astrophysics of Cepheids through a novel analysis of Cepheids in binary stars.


A successful applicant will work with Dr. Bogumił Pilecki on the project “Understanding Cepheids: physical and empirical basis for our main tool for distance determination in the Universe”. The position will be funded from a Polish National Science Center (NCN) SONATA BIS research grant (UMO-2020/38/E/ST9/00486). This position is offered for up to 2.5 years (1 year basic contract + extension).


Classical Cepheids have been successfully used to measure distances in the Universe for over a century, but our understanding of their physical properties and evolution is still very limited. Currently, an accuracy of 1% or less is necessary to solve the most pressing problems in astrophysics (e.g., the Hubble tension), and a deep understanding of Cepheids is urgently needed.

Our knowledge of Cepheid astrophysics has started improving only recently with the first precise measurements of the masses and radii obtained by our group from the analysis of Cepheids in eclipsing binary systems. However, only a few such measurements are available now. We want to improve our understanding of these important stars through a detailed investigation of about 60+ newly discovered Cepheids in binary systems. It will consist of 1) measurements of their physical and atmospheric properties (some of them for the first time), 2) a study of their multiplicity and binary interactions, 3) measuring independent distances to Cepheids, 4) modeling of their pulsations and evolution, 5) discovering new systems, and others.

Photometric observations will be performed in a dedicated observatory located at Cerro Armazones in Chile (4 telescopes in the 0.8–2.5m range), while the spectroscopic ones with the best world-class telescopes (Magellan, VLT, etc.) and instruments. For the analysis, we will use modern tools and novel methods that have been never applied before. The project will be performed in collaboration with the Araucaria group in CAMK PAN (12 astronomers) and with international collaborators in Chile, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and the USA.


Depending on skills and preference the selected candidate will work on the whole scope of the project or specific topics related to either Cepheids or their host binary systems. She/he will participate in observations and/or new and archival observational data analysis and is expected to regularly present and publish the results, as well as to write applications for observing time. Development of new software will be an essential part of the project. The selected candidate will have the possibility to work on, e.g., spectral analysis (including SED fitting and metallicity determination), modeling of selected Cepheids in eclipsing binary systems, modeling of pulsation properties of Cepheids, and evolutionary models of Cepheids and their companions. Related personal projects will also be welcome.

Information about this and other related projects on Cepheids in binary systems can be found at https://users.camk.edu.pl/pilecki/?page=project.


Questions about the position can be sent to: pilecki@camk.edu.pl


The starting date for the position is negotiable and can be as early as April 2024.


The salary of the successful candidate will be competitive to that of Polish researchers at the same career stage, exceeding PLN 8000 gross per month. Generous funding for travel and an excellent working environment is also secured.

At the moment of employment, candidates are expected to have a valid Ph.D. degree in astronomy/astrophysics obtained not earlier than 7 years before the date of starting the employment (career breaks such as for maternity/paternity leave can be taken into account).


The selection criteria include:

  1. the candidate's research achievements including publications in prestigious academic press /journals (50% of the final score);
  2. research-related achievements, scholarships, awards and research experience gained in Poland or abroad, research workshops and training courses, participation in research projects (20% of the final score);
  3. the candidate’s competence to carry out specific tasks in the research project (30% of the final score).


Applications should be sent by e-mail with the subject “Postdoc competition in astrophysics of Cepheids” to recruitment@camk.edu.pl and they must include (in PDF format):


  1. Copy of the PhD diploma or a binding statement of its date of completion;
  2. a CV including the list of publications;
  3. Short statement of research achievements and plans (maximum 2 pages);
  4. a scan of the signed GDPR form (NCN GDPR document available at https://www.camk.edu.pl/en/media/uploads_current/o_instytucie/rodo/rodo_deklaracja_ncn_ang.pdf

Additionally, at least one letter of recommendation should be arranged to be sent directly by the recommending person to the same email address.


For guaranteed consideration, applications should be received by 20 February 2024, 23:59 CET. The review of the applications will begin soon after this date, and short-listed candidates will be invited for interviews.