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Rekrutacja 2021/2022

Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center

invites applications for astronomy and astrophysics PhD studies and related fellowship competitions

 

The Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center (CAMK PAN), a leading institute of the GeoPlanet Doctoral School, offers the opportunity to carry out graduate studies leading to a PhD degree in astronomy. The PhD studies are related to subjects pursued at CAMK PAN including observational and theoretical astrophysics as well as cosmology. Our senior scientists participate in the H.E.S.S., CTA, and VIRGO/LIGO projects and are involved in instrumental projects concerning the astronomical satellites SPICA, UVSat, and ATHENA. CAMK PAN represents the Polish astronomical community in the SALT consortium which operates an 11-m optical telescope in South Africa. The Center's scientists are leading participants in the Polish scientific satellite project, BRITE, dedicated to precise stellar brightness measurements, and in the project ARAUCARIA, dedicated to the calibration of the cosmological distance scale. They also operate SOLARIS – a network of southern hemisphere small robotic telescopes committed to stellar astronomy and the search for exoplanets.

Studies last 4 years and begin on October 1, 2021. During the 4-year period, students are required to take specific courses, lectures (including interdisciplinary lectures) and participate in seminars, as well as prepare the doctoral thesis. All seminars and lectures are in English. Please, see posted on the CAMK PAN web page the regulations of the doctoral school, including the program of the Studies.

Students are based and take their courses in Warsaw or in Toruń according to the location of their supervisors. Students based in Warsaw may apply for accommodation in the hotel run by our Center.

An information about the proposed research topics and their supervisors is attached to this announcement. Candidates can apply for up to three topics but should indicate the preferred one. Before applying, candidates should contact their potential supervisors to obtain more details on the proposals.

Students in the doctoral school receive a scholarship for the period of 4 years. The minimum amount of scholarship as set in the Law on higher education and science is 2370 PLN/month, gross, before the mid-term evaluation (years 1–2) and 3650 PLN/month, gross, after the positive mid-term evaluation (years 3–4). For projects related to research grants a higher scholarship is available. Details are given in the description of each project. For projects with external funding, recruitment for the doctoral school is accompanied by a scholarship competition, according to the specific rules of the project. Separate ranking lists will be considered for each offered project.

For the application, candidates should provide their complete application documents including:

  1. The application for admission to the doctoral school together with GDPR statement (following the templates available for download in the online application form; address given below).
  2. A copy of their master’s/university and bachelor’s degree diplomas. In case master’s degree diploma is not yet available, it must be provided before the candidate is admitted to the school.
  3. A transcript of grades (Bachelor and Master Courses).
  4. A Curriculum Vitae including an education and employment records, list of publications, information on involvement in scientific activities – membership in scientific groups/societies, participation in scientific conferences, internships and training, awards and distinctions.
  5. A letter of motivation containing a short description of the candidate's interests and scientific achievements, and justification of the intention to undertake education at the Doctoral School.
  6. English language certificate(s), if available.

 

All documents should be in the PDF format, including scans, and should be submitted via an

on-line application form

by March 2nd, 2021.

In addition, at least one recommendation letter should be sent directly by the referee to: phdstudies@camk.edu.pl, before the application deadline.

The Recruitment Board will select candidates for the interview, which will take place on March 15th – 31st, 2021 (9 am – 4 pm, CET). Decisions about admission will be made at the beginning of April 2021 and all the candidates will be notified by e-mail. For additional information contact the coordinator of the doctoral school, Dr. Radosław Smolec (smolec@camk.edu.pl) or the Center’s secretary office (Ms. Katarzyna Morawska, kasia@camk.edu.pl).

 

Warsaw, January 22nd, 2021

 

 

Attachment: Proposed topics of PhD theses:


Subject: MOCCA numerical simulations of star cluster evolution – WD-WD binaries and their observational signatures in multi-messenger and high energy domains.


Supervisor: Prof. dr hab. Mirosław Giersz (contact: mig@camk.edu.pl)


Globular clusters are among the oldest and most structurally simple objects in the Milky Way. Unfortunately, their simple structure does not mean that they can be easily numerically modeled. Close, mutual, gravitational interactions between stars, star collisions, stellar and binary evolution, the galactic tidal field are only a fraction of physical processes which have to be considered in the numerical simulations of cluster evolution. The dynamical MOCCA code is developed in the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center and is one of the world’s best codes for star cluster evolution. The code is able to simulate evolution of real star cluster on levels of precision and detail comparable to N-body codes, but much faster.

Tasks to be performed:

  1. The main task will be connected with the investigation of formation channels of WD-WD binaries, their further evolution and their observational signatures in multi-messenger and high energy domains. WD-WD binaries are a very important astrophysical binary type. They are responsible for a plethora of observations in optical, X-ray and GW emissions. In star clusters, they are formed purely in stellar evolution, in dynamical interactions or in stellar evolution induced by dynamical interactions. The addition of the dissipative processes and hierarchical systems will strongly increase the probability of their dynamical formation. Some of such formed binaries will undergo violent and spectacular events connected with mergers. Large number of WD-ED binaries should be kicked out from the cluster due to dynamical interactions. It would be interesting to check if such binaries possess some characteristic properties which will distinguish them from the binaries observed in the field. Also, WD-WD binaries may be a source of the GW radiation (also background), which will be detected by future GW observatories such as LISA.
  2. Work on the further development of the MOCCA code and detailed analysis of simulation results in the BEANS environment.
  3. Additionally, participation in other grant project tasks connected with different types of binaries that have observational signatures in multi-messenger and high energy domains.


Funding: Additional scholarship paid by the Institute, to amount to total of 5000 PLN/month, gross, during the first year. For the following years, the amount of the scholarship will depend on the availability of funding - contact the supervisor for details.


Location: Warsaw

 


Subject: Variability of massive stars as seen with the eyes of TESS.


Supervisor: Prof. dr Gerald Handler (contact: gerald@camk.edu.pl)


Single PhD position is offered; PhD student will have an opportunity to work on one of the following projects:

  1. Precision asteroseismology of massive stars with the TESS mission.
    TESS is the acronym for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, a NASA space mission launched in April 2018. TESS performs an all-sky survey of bright stars for transiting exoplanets, but it also has an asteroseismology program to study the interiors of stars by using their oscillations as seismic waves. In this framework, high-precision measurements (of a quality compared to that of the Kepler mission, but for stars some five magnitudes brighter) with rapid time sampling will be available for millions of stars.

    The purpose of the proposed PhD project concerns Beta Cephei stars, hot, massive main sequence pulsators that are tomorrow's supernovae. Preparatory work for TESS has almost tripled the number of known Beta Cephei stars to over 600, but TESS itself is permanently increasing this number. Therefore, we now have the luxury of cherry-picking the best targets for in-depth asteroseismic studies.

    These best targets can be separated in two groups, pulsators in eclipsing binary systems and pulsating runaway stars, which are stars that have been ejected from the Galactic plane by some catastrophic event such as a supernova explosion or binary star disruption. From the eclipsing binary stars, one obtains accurate constraints on the masses of the components, whereas the runaway stars provide upper limits to the ages of the pulsators.

    The task of the PhD student working on this project is to select the best possible targets for this effort, to obtain and analyse additional observational data necessary for their further study, and to model the stellar interiors precisely in close collaboration with known specialists in this area. In this way, our knowledge of individual pulsators and hence on massive stars in general shall be considerably improved. This PhD work is expected to result in several high-impact publications and should firmly establish the candidate in the scientific community.

  2. Asteroseismology for the masses - pulsations in binary stars.
    Recent and ongoing ultra-precise space photometry missions have discovered a large number of new phenomena in binary and pulsating stars. These range from newly discovered pulsators in eclipsing binary stars over hot massive stars with unknown, possibly evolved companions to the new class of "single-sided pulsators", components of close binaries whose pulsation axis has been tilted into the orbital plane by the gravitational pull of a close companion.

    The purpose of the proposed PhD project are in-depth studies of a carefully selected, scientifically valuable sample of these stars. Pulsators in binaries with total eclipses can be characterized in detail both in their exterior and their interior. In particular, stellar masses can be determined to high precision to calibrate the top of the mass function. The inference of the nature of presently unknown, possibly degenerate, companions of massive binary stars has a direct impact on binary stellar evolution theories. The extent of the phenomenon of single-sided pulsators is presently unknown and needs to be charted.

    The task of the PhD student working on this project is to select the best possible targets for this effort, to obtain and analyse additional observational data necessary for their further study (in particular high-resolution, high signal-to-noise spectroscopy), to model the stellar interiors precisely, to determine stellar masses accurately, all in close collaboration with known specialists in this area. In this way, our knowledge of individual pulsators and hence on massive stars in general shall be considerably improved. This PhD work is expected to result in several high-impact publications and should firmly establish the candidate in the scientific community.


Funding: Additional scholarship paid by the Institute, to amount to total of 5000 PLN/month, gross, during the first year. For the following years, the amount of the scholarship will depend on the availability of funding - contact the supervisor for details.


Location: Warsaw 

 

 


Subject: Simulations of bright and stable black hole accretion disks.


Supervisor: Prof. dr hab.  Włodek Kluźniak (contact: wlodek@camk.edu.pl)


The successful candidate will be admitted to the PhD program at Copernicus Astronomical Center to work under the supervision of Prof. Wlodek Kluzniak on  computing the structure and properties of stable, luminous, black hole accretion disks through global 3-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic simulations in general relativity, with the inclusion of radiation. The project is relevant to observations of active galactic nuclei (AGNs), as well as black holes in X-ray binaries.

The project will be carried out in collaboration with teams in institutions such as Harvard University in the USA and the Silesian University in the Czech Republic.

The successful candidate will have a record of scholastic achievement in physics or mathematics, some experience with software and  must be capable numerically. The candidate must be willing to travel abroad for collaborative visits.

 
Funding: Additional scholarship paid by the Institute, to amount to total of 5000 PLN/month, gross, during the first year. For the following years, the amount of the scholarship will depend on the availability of funding - contact the supervisor for details.


Location: Warsaw

 

 


Subject: Novae with evolved donors.


Supervisor: Prof. dr hab. Joanna Mikołajewska (contact: mikolaj@camk.edu.pl)


The proposed research is related to the OPUS grant “Life cycles of novae with evolved donors” led by prof. Joanna Mikołajewska and funded by the Polish National Science Centre. The scholarship is available for graduate students with a BSc degree and PhD students in astronomy or astrophysics, fluent in English, with good knowledge of IRAF or equivalent spectroscopy-dedicated packages, and Virtual Observatory tools. A basic knowledge of numerical methods and programming will be also appreciated.  Any questions concerning the project should be sent to mikolaj@camk.edu.pl.

 
Funding: This offer is accompanied by a scholarship competition from the National Science Center OPUS project, number 2017/27/B/ST9/01940, entitled "Life cycles of novae with evolved donors" led by prof. Joanna Mikołajewska. Scholarship in the total amount of 4500 PLN/month, gross, is available for 12 months.


Location: Warsaw

 

 

 


Subject: Understanding Cepheids: physical and empirical basis for our main tool for distance determination in the Universe.


Supervisor: Dr Bogumił Pilecki (contact: pilecki@camk.edu.pl)


Classical Cepheids are successfully being used to measure distances in the Universe for over a century, but our understanding of their physical properties and evolution is still very limited. It was not a problem when measurements (distances, Hubble constant) were done with 10%-precision, but currently precision of 1% or less is necessary to solve the most pressing problems in astrophysics (e.g. the Hubble tension).

Our knowledge on Cepheids has started to improve 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, and there are still many open problems to be solved. We want to improve our understanding of these important stars through a detailed investigation of a large sample of newly discovered Cepheids in binary systems. This will consist of measurements of their physical and atmospheric properties (some of them for the first time), and the study of their multiplicity and binary interactions. Photometric observations will be performed in our dedicated observatory located at Cerro Armazones in Chile, while for the spectroscopic observations the best world-class telescopes and instruments will be utilized. For the analysis, we will use modern tools and novel methods that were never applied before. The project will be performed within the Araucaria group in a large international collaboration (Chile, France, Switzerland, Germany, USA, Austria, Italy).

The successful applicant will participate in observations, data analysis, software development, and is expected to regularly present and publish the results. The student will have a possibility to work on either spectroscopic analysis or modeling of selected new Cepheids in binary systems, as well as on evolutionary models of studied Cepheids and their companions. During the project, software modification and development will be necessary, so high computer and programming skills are expected, including the knowledge of a modern programming language (e.g. Python). Experience in observations, analysis of observational data, and any of the topics related to the project, would be an asset.

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

 
Funding: Scholarship from the National Science Center, Sonata BIS project, number 2020/38/E/ST9/00486, entitled "Understanding Cepheids: physical and empirical basis for our main tool for distance determination in the Universe", led by dr. Bogumił Pilecki. Scholarship in the total amount of 5000 PLN/month, gross, is available for 4 years.


Location: Warsaw

 

 

 


Subject: The chemical enrichment history of the metal-poor Milky Way.


Supervisor: Dr hab. Rodolfo Smiljanic (contact: rsmiljanic@camk.edu.pl)


One PhD position is offered to perform a large-scale observational study in the field of Galactic archaeology. The position is financed within the Sonata Bis project “Playing CHESS with stars” funded by the Polish National Science Center.

Understanding the processes of formation and evolution of the Milky Way is one fundamental goal of modern astrophysics. An essential part of this goal is decoding the details of how the chemical composition of the Milky Way material evolved from the primordial composition (made essentially of hydrogen and helium) to its current level of enrichment.

To contribute in this field, the proposed PhD project will focus on the determination of multi-elemental stellar chemical abundances of unprecedented quality from high-resolution spectra of the metal-poor ([Fe/H] < -0.5) part of a sample of more than 10 000 F-, G-, or K-type stars. The results will be used to study the history of chemical enrichment of the old, metal-poor Galactic stellar populations (halo and thick disc), separating the timescales of each distinct nucleosynthetic process.

The selected candidate will join a team that is developing a new and innovative system for the large-scale analysis of stellar spectroscopic data. The "CHEmical Survey analysis System" (CHESS) will combine machine learning ideas with the traditional radiative transfer modeling of stellar spectra. This innovative tool will enable the extraction of complete, precise, and accurate chemical abundances from large samples of stellar spectra.

We seek a resourceful, curiosity-driven candidate with strong programming skills. Fluent English is essential. Previous experience with modern statistical methods, machine learning, software engineering, or stellar astrophysics will be an asset.


Funding: This offer is accompanied by a scholarship competition from the National Science Center Sonata BIS project, number 2019/34/E/ST9/00133, entitled "Playing CHESS with stars: decoding the Galactic chemical enrichment history with stellar chemical abundances", dr hab. Rodolfo Smiljanic, PI. Scholarship in the total amount of 5000 PLN/month, gross, is available for 4 years.


Location: Warsaw

 

 

 

Subject: Modeling of quartz resonators in applications for autonomous sensors.


Supervisor: Prof. dr hab. Tomasz Bulik (contact: bulik@camk.edu.pl)

Co-Supervisor: Dr Mariusz Suchenek (contact: suchenek@camk.edu.pl)


The proposed research is to develop a model of quartz resonators that allow for mprovement  of the stability of the sampling frequency of the autonomous sensor system. By taking into account the environmental parameters, it is possible to determine the frequency correction of the quartz oscillator. The goal of this work is to develop a model which allows predicting those frequency fluctuations and improve long term stability of the frequency of the acquisition system of the autonomous sensor.

Requirements:
- Master of Engineering
- Knowledge of programming (C, C++, Matlab, Python)
- Knowledge of design printed circuits boards with Altium/Eagle/PADS/KiCad
- Knowledge of signal processing issues
- Knowledge of models of bipolar transistors, designing electronic circuits analog and digital
- Knowledge about electronic circuits, knowledge of optimization models
- Knowledge of the English language allowing to work in an international environment



Funding: This offer is accompanied by a scholarship competition from the Foundation for Polish Science AstroCeNT project. Scholarship in the total amount of 4500 PLN/month, gross, is available for 21 months.


Location: Warsaw



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