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Postdoctoral Fellowship in Stellar Astrophysics

companyVillanova University
locationUnited States
PublishedPublished: 2/12/2024
Full Time

Villanova University


Posting Details (Default Section) Posting Details (Default Section) Posting Number:20231097FPosition Title:Postdoctoral Fellowship in Stellar AstrophysicsPosition Type:FacultyLocation:Villanova, PARecruitment Type:Internal/External ApplicantsWork Schedule:full-time/12-monthsDepartment:182-Astronomy and Planetary SciencePosition Summary:Villanova University’s Department of Astrophysics and Planetary Science invites applications for the NASA-sponsored postdoctoral research fellowship. A successful applicant will join Andrej Prša’s research team and work on the PHOEBE code, developing the modeling proxy based on artificial intelligence (AI). The goal of the AI-powered model is to enable the autonomous sampling of the parameter space of eclipsing binary observables, most notably photometric data from NASA’s Kepler and TESS missions. In parallel, the applicant will be given an opportunity to teach an undergraduate core science course/lab, where the stress is on incorporating four critical components in a meaningful way: problem solving, laboratory experience, technology and quantitative tools, and interdisciplinary understanding. While the teaching component is entirely optional, it is offered to provide development and growth in the applicant’s teaching. Finally, the applicant will join the Departmental ecosphere and participate in shaping the future of research and education at Villanova. The fellowship includes a 12-month salary, a travel budget and full employee benefits. The postdoctoral fellowship is a 2-year appointment, renewed annually under the condition of satisfactory performance and continued mutual interest.

Villanova is a Catholic university sponsored by the Augustinian Order. Diversity and inclusion have been and will continue to be an integral component of Villanova University’s mission. The University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and seeks candidates who understand, respect and can contribute to the University’s mission and values.Duties and Responsibilities:A successful applicant will be expected to:
  • demonstrate the highest regard for the diverse, equitable and inclusive Departmental culture and uphold the true and complete respect for all students, staff and faculty;
  • work with PHOEBE developers and contribute significantly to the PHOEBE code base and to the organization of PHOEBE summer workshops;
  • focus on the state-of-the-art research in artificial intelligence approaches to building a modeling proxy based on PHOEBE;
  • apply the developed autonomous AI-powered system to photometric data from NASA’s Kepler and TESS missions;
  • rigorously test and determine the limits of model applicability, and publish the results in top-tier peer-reviewed journals (such as AAS journals, A&A, MNRAS, or similar);
  • commit to writing or contributing to the quarterly general public education articles that explain the project deliverables in layman terms;
  • be proficient in computational astrophysics, astrostatistics, and/or exoplanetary science;
  • participate in Departmental affairs: meetings, colloquia, events and functions. This includes working with and advising undergraduate students, contributing to public events and advancing the Department’s reputation and renown locally, nationally and internationally;
  • (optional) teach 1 or 2 sections of the core science courses or labs per semester (currently “How old is the Universe?”, “Life in the Universe”, “Planetary skies and landscapes”, “Birth and Death of Stars”, “Earth – our habitable world”, and “Earth – a cosmic connection”).
Minimum Qualifications:
  • A PhD in Physics, Astrophysics, Data Science or a closely related discipline is required.
  • Strong proficiency with programming, especially in python and optionally in C/C++.
  • Strict adherence to open source software and open science models.
  • Ability and willingness to work as part of a large development team.

Preferred Qualifications:
  • Teaching: prior experience in teaching STEM classes to non-STEM majors is desired.
  • Research: strong track record in physics, astrophysics, statistics and programming is desired.
  • Service: ability to work with colleagues and to demonstrate diversity awareness is desired.

Physical Requirements and/or Unusual Work Hours: Special Message to Applicants:The Department of Astrophysics and Planetary Science will start reviewing applications on January 15, 2024, but will keep accepting applications until the position is filled. The target starting date is March 1, 2024, with the possibility of shifting to both earlier and later dates, depending on the applicant needs/availability.

All applicants must apply online and complete a faculty profile. Applications must include:
  1. A cover letter expressing interest in the position.
  2. A current and complete resume/curriculum vitae.
  3. A research statement.
  4. A statement of commitment to the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
  5. A statement of contribution to Villanova’s mission.
  6. Two letters of recommendation; the system will request the letters directly from the references when appropriate in the process.
If the applicant wishes to submit any other supporting documentation, they may submit them online in conjunction with the application.Posting Date:Closing Date (11:59pm ET):Salary Posting Information: Competitive.Salary Band:Job Classification:faculty

References Needed: References Needed Minimum Number of References Needed2Maximum Number of References Needed2

Supplemental Questions:

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

  1. * How did you first hear of this employment opportunity?
    • Indeed.com
    • Higheredjobs.com
    • LinkedIn
    • Glassdoor
    • Chronicle Vitae
    • Academic Keys
    • PA CareerLink/JobGateway
    • Professional Affiliation/Trade Website
    • Diversity Association/Publication Website
    • Advertisement in Academic or Professional Publication
    • Referred by a current employee
    • Referred by a friend, family member, or former employee
    • Heard about it at a conference or career fair
    • Browsing the Villanova website
    • Cabrini University employee
    • Other
  2. * If your answer to the above question is "Other", please specify the source below. If this question does not apply to you, enter N/A.

    (Open Ended Question)

  3. * What science field is your PhD in?
    • Physics
    • Astrophysics
    • Computer/Data science
    • Mathematics/Statistics
    • Closely related field
  4. * If your answer above was a "Closely related field," please provide it here.

    (Open Ended Question)

  5. * What programming experience and computing infrastructure background do you have? Select all that apply.
    • C/C++/C#
    • Python
    • Java/Javascript
    • HTML and web deployment
    • IDL
    • Bash scripting
    • HPC/MPI environments
    • Virtual reality visualization (vizard, unity, ...)
    • Linux operating system


Documents needed to complete your application:
Required Documents
  1. Cover Letter / Letter of Interest
  2. Resume / Curriculum Vitae
  3. Statement of Research Interests
  4. Statement of Contribution to DEI
  5. Statement of Contribution to Mission
Optional Documents
  1. Statement of Teaching Philosophy
  2. Other Document
  3. Other Document (2)





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