Postdoctoral Position in X-ray Spectral-timing Modelling Software Development

University of Amsterdam
December 22, 2022
Offerd Salary:€ 2,846
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Job Ref.:N/A

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Postdoctoral Position in X-ray Spectral-timing Modelling Software


Faculty/Services: Faculty of Science

Educational level: University

Function type: Academic Staff

Closing date: 22 December 2022

Vacancy number: 10522

We seek a creative scientific developer to work within a pioneering team to build and implement new tools for modelling X-ray spectral-timing data from observations of compact objects by existing and future missions. The project will be carried out as part of the Dutch national astronomy research school's (NOVA) support towards the new X-ray spectral-timing mission eXTP, and the EU-funded AHEAD2020 project to develop new high-energy astrophysics infrastructure over the coming years.

What are you going to do?

X-ray astronomy stands at a crossroads, where datasets of increasing complexity and quality must be understood against physical models which are increasingly detailed. This change is especially apparent in the field of X-ray spectral-timing, where time lags and variability amplitudes from highly variable accreting black holes and neutron stars are routinely measured as a function of energy and time-scale, but must be fitted with 1-dimensional models because of the constraints of current X-ray spectral modelling software. The development of X-ray polarimetry adds another dimension to the required complexity. Planned missions such as the Enhanced X-ray Timing and Polarimetry mission (eXTP) and Athena will provide enormous count rates so that increasingly complex models will need to be fitted to the data while taking account of all the relevant instrumental effects.

To address this challenge of fitting increasingly complex models to multi- dimensional X-ray data sets, we need to develop new software tools which combine the best aspects of conventional X-ray spectral fitting (usability and a large and expanding community-driven suite of models) with methods to fit physical models to X-ray spectral-timing(-polarimetry) data. The new tools should be open source and modular, to fit within data analysis workflows which work with separate tools for data reduction and timing analysis.

In this position, you will play a leading role in developing the model-fitting tools required for this next-generation software, from prototyping the fitting techniques to producing public software releases to the community. In this position:

  • You will work with the Anton Pannekoek X-ray Spectral-Timing team led by Dr. Phil Uttley on the development of X-ray spectral-timing modelling software.
  • You will communicate with collaborating teams working on next-generation X-ray spectral and spectral-timing analysis tools, at the Dutch Space Research Organisation (SRON) and elsewhere in Europe.
  • You will carry out research related to the project, including using the (prototype) software to obtain and publish new results on the X-ray spectral-timing of black holes and/or neutron stars.
  • What do you have to offer?

  • You have completed a PhD in physics and/or astronomy before starting this position.

  • You have good programming skills in Python and ideally C++.

  • You have experience with the Scientific Python Stack (e.g. Numpy/SciPy/Pandas/Jupyter) and domain-specific tools like Astropy.

  • You have experience in collaborative software development and knowledge of standard software development practices such as version control, code review, continuous integration, and clear documentation.

  • You can communicate well in English (written & oral).

  • It is a preference but not required if you have previous experience in X-ray spectral fitting and ideally X-ray spectral-timing analysis.

    Our offer

    We offer a temporary employment contract for 38 hours per week, with a start date to be agreed with the successful candidate (but which can be as soon as possible). The appointment will be for an initial period of 2 years, but can be extended by an additional 2 years after a year of satisfactory performance.

    The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 2,846 to € 4,490 (scale 10). There is also an additional 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% year-end allowance. The UFO profile Onderzoeker 4 is applicable. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling', may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.

    Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:

  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;
  • multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;
  • partly paid parental leave;
  • the possibility to set up a workplace partly (up to 2 days per week) at home;
  • a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch.
  • Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.

    About us

    The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

    The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

    The Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy furthers research, teaching and public understanding of astronomy. It conducts astronomical research and trains astronomers from bachelor to postdoctoral level, aiming at world- leading levels and activities.

    Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

    Any questions?

    Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact Dr. Phil Uttley at [email protected]

    Job application

    If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the button below. We accept applications until and including 21 November 2022.

    Applications should include the following information (all files besides your cv should be submitted in one single pdf file ):

  • a detailed CV with publication list, including the months (not just years) when referring to your education and work experience;
  • a letter of motivation;
  • statement of research experience and interests (max. 2 pages);
  • the names and email addresses of two references who can provide letters of recommendation.
  • Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.

    The interviews will be held starting in December 2022.

    The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

    If you encounter Error GBB451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.

    No agencies please

    Apply now »

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