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Job offers / Post-doc & PhD positions

→ Post-doctoral position in observational astronomy

Applications are invited for 1 postdoctoral position at the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center of the Polish Science Academy (CAMK PAN), in Warsaw, Poland, in the fields of pulsating and binary stars. CAMK PAN is the leading astrophysical institute in Poland, hosting about 50 staff researchers and 30 PhD students. CAMK PAN scientists participate in many international projects.

A successful applicant will work with Dr. Bogumił Pilecki (the Principal Investigator) on the project “Understanding Cepheids: physical and empirical basis for our main tool for distance determination in the Universe”. The position will be funded from a Polish National Science Center (NCN) SONATA BIS research grant (UMO-2020/38/E/ST9/00486). Generous funding for travel and excellent working environment is secured. This position is offered for two years with a possibility of extension.

The project

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 of Cepheid astrophysics 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 about 50 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 (this observatory will be soon expanded with 4 new telescopes in the 0.8–2.5m range), while for the spectroscopic observations the best world-class telescopes (Magellan, VLT, etc.) 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 group consists of about 15 astronomers in CAMK PAN and about 20 in other countries.

About the position

The project will be focused mainly on Cepheids in spectroscopic and eclipsing binary systems. Depending on skills and preference the selected candidate will be able to work on the whole scope of the project or specifically on either Cepheids or binary systems (with Cepheid companions). Related personal projects will also be welcome.

The successful applicant will participate in observations, data analysis (radial velocity determination, light curve modeling, SED fitting), and software development. He/she is also expected to regularly present and publish the results, and write applications for observing time. The selected candidate will have the possibility to work, among others, on spectral analysis (including SED fitting), modeling of selected Cepheids in eclipsing binary systems, modeling of pulsation properties of Cepheids, and on evolutionary models of Cepheids and their companions.

Information about related projects on Cepheids in binary systems can be found here.


Requirements to be met by candidates include the following:

  1. A PhD degree in Astronomy or Astrophysics (a diploma delivered by the start date of the position)
  2. Proven track record of publications
  3. Published experience in the field of pulsating stars or binary systems
  4. Fluent English communication (written and oral)
  5. High programming skills
  6. Additional assets: creativity, independence, experience in observations

The person recruited as a result of this competition must also meet all of the following conditions:

  1. is not a person for whom the Principal Investigator was a promoter or assistant promoter in his/her doctoral dissertation;
  2. within the last two years before taking up employment in the project, has not been employed on the basis of an employment contract in CAMK PAN;
  3. during the employment in the project she/he will not receive any other remuneration from the funds allocated within the direct costs from any other research projects financed by NCN;
  4. during the employment in the project will not be employed by another employer on the basis of an employment contract, including an employer based outside the territory of Poland.

Starting date and salary

The preferred starting date for the position is October 2021 but is negotiable. The salary of the successful candidate will be competitive to that of Polish researchers at the same career stage.


Applications (in pdf format) should be submitted by e-mail with the subject “Postdoc competition” to recruitment@camk.edu.pl and they must include:

  1. CV including an information clause available in: gdpr.pdf
  2. List of publications
  3. Copy of the PhD diploma
  4. Short statement of research achievements and plans (maximum 2 pages)
  5. Two letters of recommendation should be arranged to be sent directly by their authors to the same email address

Questions about the position can be sent to: pilecki@camk.edu.pl

For full consideration, applications should be received by 31 July 2021.

The review of the applications will begin soon after this date and continue until the position is filled.

You can also read this announcement at the webpage of the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center.

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