Breakthrough Listen Fellow

University of Oxford
February 16, 2024
Offerd Salary:£36,024 - £44,263
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:fixed-term until 30t
Working Time:Negotigation
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A
Breakthrough Listen Fellow

Department of Physics, Denys Wilkinson Building, Keble Road, Oxford

A Unique Opportunity for Postdoctoral Research in Astrophysics and Related Fields

The University of Oxford invites applications for the Breakthrough Listen Postdoctoral Fellowship, designed for early-career researchers in astronomy, astrophysics, and computer science. This fellowship is a part of the Breakthrough Listen initiative, a leading program in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence headquartered at the University of Oxford.

Fellows will have the opportunity to collaborate with, and enjoy mentorship from, the breadth of Oxford Astrophysics faculty as well as senior Listen staff including Principal Investigator Andrew Siemion.

It is likely there will be opportunities for membership of an Oxford college.

The post is available for a fixed-term until 30th June 2026 initially.

Research Areas and Objectives

A list of potential research topics are listed below. However, these are not comprehensive, and we encourage research plans aimed at novel technosignature investigations as well.

Radio Technosignatures:

A key priority area for Breakthrough Listen involves work on advanced multi- element radio telescopes such as MeerKAT, the Very Large Array and the Allen Telescope Array. Research efforts could focus on developing and enhancing algorithms for image domain approaches in radio interferometry with an aim to improve instrument sensitivity and robustness of software pipelines for a more effective search for radio technosignatures.

Coherent Broadband Emission Physics:

The Breakthrough Listen program involves in-depth analysis of natural and artificial coherent broadband emissions. This is essential for distinguishing between common astrophysical signals and potential indicators of extraterrestrial technology. Establishing techniques for discerning the underlying physical properties of coherent emitters would be very valuable to the search for technosignatures.

Atmospheric Technosignatures:

Breakthrough Listen is keen to explore the potential of next-generation observatories to study exoplanet atmospheres. Listen's specific focus is on identifying artificial molecules and other technosignatures.

Machine Learning and Anomaly Detection

Application of machine learning to large astronomical datasets, such as those from the Vera Rubin Observatory and GAIA, offer exciting opportunities for technosignature detection. Relevant research could include developing algorithms for anomaly detection that would identify potential technosignatures within these vast data sets, focussing on optical transients or other large datasets. Citizen science is also of interest, especially where combined with ML.

The candidate will be required to demonstrate the ability to manage their own academic research and administrative activities which may involve small scale project management, to co-ordinate multiple aspects of work to meet deadlines.

The fellowship encourages collaboration and interdisciplinary research. Applicants will have the opportunity to work alongside leading experts in the field. Candidates should hold a PhD in a relevant field and possess experience in data analysis, radio astronomy, or machine learning.

Candidates should have experience of contributing to publications and/or presentations and be able to contribute new ideas for research projects.

The successful candidate will hold a PhD in a relevant area of astronomy, physics or engineering.

The post-holder will have the opportunity to teach.

Please direct enquiries about the role to Andrew Siemion ([email protected])

Only applications received before midday 16th February 2024 can be considered. You will be required to upload a brief statement of research interests, CV and details of two referees as part of your online application. Your referees should submit your reference to [email protected] before the closing date.

Contact Person : HR Team Vacancy ID : 170357 Contact Phone : Closing Date & Time : 16-Feb-2024 12:00 Pay Scale : STANDARD GRADE 7 Contact Email : [email protected] Salary (£) : Grade 7: £36,024 - £44,263 per annum

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