Postdoctoral Position in Exoplanet Astrophysics
Applications are invited for two postdoctoral positions in research related to extrasolar planets in Prof. Andrew Howard's group at Caltech. Successful applicants are expected to work on one (or in rare cases two) of the three projects listed below, will have some time for their own research, and will be able to propose for observing time at Keck and Palomar Observatories through the Caltech Optical Observatories solicitation.
1) Aid in development of the Keck Planet Finder (KPF), a high-resolution, stabilized optical echelle spectrometer for Doppler planet searches. KPF is in preliminary design for deployment at Keck Observatory in 2019 and will have a measurement precision of 0.3-0.5 m/s. This project involves development of algorithms and a KPF data pipeline, assisting with science-motivated engineering trades in the KPF design, and ongoing development of the KPF science case. This is not a hardware position, but is at the interface of new instrumentation, data analysis, and exoplanet physics.
2) Contribute to a group effort to discover and characterize new planets in photometry from the K2 mission (and its successor TESS, upon launch). Our search includes photometric identification of planets, candidate vetting, follow-up spectroscopic and high-contrast imaging observations, construction of planet catalogs, Doppler mass measurements, and more.
3) Develop data analysis techniques for modeling time series data (radial velocities and photometry) in the presence of correlated noise. Goals include improved planet detection in noisy datasets, parameter estimation, and model selection.
The appointments are expected to start on September 1, 2017 or earlier with competitive compensation, and require the completion of a PhD. Initial appointments will be for one year with two possible one-year extensions. Applicants should prepare a cover letter, 1-3 page statement of their research interests and possible contributions to the above projects, a publication list, and a CV, as a single PDF with the filename LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME_howard-job-jan2017.pdf. This file should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants should also arrange for three letters of recommendation to be confidentially submitted to the same address with the filename LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME-RECOMMENDERLASTNAME.pdf. Full consideration will be given to applications received by January 15, 2017. Questions about science and the projects should be directed to Andrew Howard, email@example.com. Administrative questions should be directed to Althea Keith, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications from individuals from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged.