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Postdoctoral position at University of Kentucky

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral research position focusing on the formation of emission lines in a wide range of astronomical objects, including Active Galactic Nuclei, Starburst galaxies, optical filaments in cool-core galaxy clusters, H II regions, and planetary nebulae.

The project centers on development and application of the open source plasma simulation code Cloudy ( Cloudy is one of the more widely used theory codes in astrophysics, with roughly 200 papers citing its documentation each year. By improving our simulations of the way matter emits light, we can understand what the observed spectrum tells us about very distant objects.

Methods already developed by the dense plasma / magnetic fusion communities, especially the ADAS project, will be adopted for astronomical use. Despite the fact that devices such as Tokamaks are surprisingly similar to gas accreting near a black hole, there has been little communication between laboratory plasma physicists and astrophysicists. Collaborations with experts will result in rapid improvements in simulations of emission from distant galaxies and AGN.

The ideal candidate would have knowledge of atomic physics, spectral line formation in astronomical sources, numerical methods, and development of a large C++ codebase. We would, however, encourage applications from candidates with expertise in one or more of these areas, balanced by enthusiasm to learn the others.

This position is made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation to the University of Kentucky, Gary Ferland, PI. The post will be based in Lexington, with the expectation of extended visits to the United Kingdom to work with collaborators there. Successful candidates should have a PhD or equivalent. The appointment is initially for one year but may be renewed up to three years, depending on progress and availability of funding.

Applications should include a CV, publications list, and a brief statement outlining previous research. All should be sent in pdf format to by October 1, 2014, together with the names of three people to contact for reference letters.