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PhD opportunities at NCAC in Computational Astrophysics

Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center invites applications for PhD studies in astronomy and astrophysics leading to a PhD degree. The subject of research are related to the OPUS projects funded by Polish National Science Centre (NCN):

1) “Structure and evolution of ultra-luminous astrophysical X-ray sources” (PI: professor Jean-Pierre Lasota; thesis supervisor: professor Krzysztof Belczyński).

Plan of research:

The research carried out by the student will involve working with results from the StarTrack code for stellar binary population synthesis, which has been developed by professor Belczyński and and was used by him and his collaborators to predict correctly the existence of the population of massive double black-hole binaries that has been recently discovered by LIGO (Laser Interferometric Gravitational-wave Observatory).

The StarTrack simulations will be used by the student to study the links that can exist between the population of Ultra Luminous X-ray sources (ULXs) and the population of gravitational-wave sources, in particular of the (still to be discovered) double neutron star and black-hole – neutron star systems.

Knowledge of numerical methods and programming in  C, C++, Python (or any equivalent) will be preferred.

Proposed topics of PhD thesis: „From ultra-luminous X-ray sources to gravitational waves sources”.

2) "Evolution of Star Clusters with Multiple Stellar Populations - Development of the MOCCA Numerical Code and Comparisons of Results of Numerical Simulations with Observations" (PI and thesis supervisor: dr Mirek Giersz).

Plan of research:

The carried out research will involve working with results from the MOCCA (MOnte Carlo Cluster simulAtor) code for star cluster evolution, which was developed at NCAC. The results from the MOCCA simulations will be used to compare with globular cluster observations, and to investigate formation, retention and evolution of particular stellar populations and objects, e.g. x-ray binaries, black holes, different kind of binaries.

Knowledge of numerical methods, programming and script languages and basic observational procedures will be preferred.

Proposed topics of PhD thesis: „Comparing Star Cluster Simulations with Observations”.


Candidates should contact the grant PI's first, to discuss the details of the research topics. Applications should be prepared following guidelines in the PhD studies webpage.

The positions will be fully funded by the NCN grant, including a stipend and research funds.

Applications should be sent in pdf format to:

The deadline is 22 September, 2017.