Astronomy at Durham

Durham Astronomy Research Cluster

Durham University is one of the UK's leading centres for astronomical research with world-class groups working in a wide range of fields covering the observational, theoretical and instrumentation aspects of astronomy.

RAS Biographical memoir of Sir Arnold Wolfendale
Fellowship and Postdoctoral Research Positions in Observational and Theoretical Cosmology and Extragalactic Astronomy and Planetary Science
We invite applications for the following 3-year funded postdoctoral positions within the broad areas of extragalactic astronomy, cosmology, and planetary science at Durham University. Please indicate in your application which of these posts you want to be considered for.
  • Observational & theoretical studies of dark matter [2 positions]. The successful candidates will join the active cluster lensing group at CEA and ICC. The group is strongly involved in the Hubble Space Telescope BUFFALO survey which uses gravitational lensing in massive clusters to study the distant universe and constrain the nature of dark matter, and James Webb Space telescope cluster observations. Moreover, the group is involved in the balloon-borne telescope SuperBIT which will provide wide-field, high resolution and multi-wavelength observations of several tens of massive clusters. Our expertise range from strong to weak gravitational lensing, mass modelling techniques, the study of the high redshift Universe, the physics of clusters, including galaxy evolution and that using imaging and spectroscopy from the ground and space. We thus welcome applications from people interested in finding clues on the nature of dark matter using galaxy clusters as laboratories both from the observation and theory perspectives. Please contact Prof Mathilde Jauzac for more details.
  • Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) and the Southern Wide-field Gamma-ray Observatory (SWGO) [1 position]. A PDRA position is available to work on calibration systems for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) and the Southern Wide-field Gamma-ray Observatory (SWGO). The successful appointee will also have the opportunity to work on science topics of their choice relevant to CTA and SWGO. Please contact Prof Paula Chadwick for more details.
  • Dissecting elliptical galaxies with poisson fluctuation spectroscopy [1 position]. This post aims to develop and deploy a novel technique to isolate the spectra of giant stars in unresolved populations, using the pixel-to-pixel fluctuations in high-resolution IFU data. The project involves building realistic mock datasets and testing against existing and forthcoming observations (MUSE-NFM; ERIS; JWST/NIRSPEC). The ultimate goal is to evaluate strategies for observations with ELT/HARMONI, in which Durham is a consortium partner. Please contact Dr Russell Smith for more details.
  • Star formation and stellar feedback in nearby galaxies [1 position]. The successful candidate will work on integral field unit as well as multi-wavelength photometric observations of nearby galaxies to study their resolved stellar populations and ISM, and ideally already have some expertise in this field. Please contact Dr Anna McLeod for more details.
  • The dynamics, star formation and chemical properties of high redshift galaxies [1 position]. The successful candidate will work on the dynamics and star formation properties of high redshift galaxies from multi-wavelength observations, including KMOS, ERIS and ALMA. Please contact Prof Mark Swinbank for more details.
  • Ultraluminous X-ray sources [1 position]. The successful candidate will work on X-ray and multi-wavelength studies of the populations of ULXs revealed by new serendipitous and all-sky surveys. Please contact Prof Tim Roberts for more details.
  • Systematic variability analysis of accreting white dwarfs with TESS [1 position]. The successful candidate will exploit TESS observations to systematically study and characterise the variability properties of hundreds of interacting accreting white dwarfs in binaries. Previous experience in timing analysis techniques are thus ideal, as well as some experience in multi-wavelength data reduction and analysis. Results will be placed in a broader context and used to test for similarities and differences against other types of accreting compact objects. Please contact Dr. Simone Scaringi for more details.
  • Strong gravitational lensing by galaxies, using JWST COSMOS-Web and Euclid data [1 position]. This post will search for the low-mass clumps of dark matter that are predicted uniquely by LCDM. The succesful candidate will also become a member of the Euclid ground segment team, and help control pixel-level instrument effects. Proficiency in python and/or C++ ideal. Please contact Prof Richard Massey for more details.
  • Dark substructure predictions for CDM [1 position]. The goals are two fold: (i) to make predictions for the abundance and properties of dark substructures of all masses around the Milky Way and other galaxies (ii) to use these to make observational predictions. The successful candidate will be encouraged to work equally on the simulation aspects and making predictions for example for detecting annihilation radiation with CTA, exploiting upcoming samples of strong gravitational lenses, or using gaps in stellar streams. Please contact Prof. Adrian Jenkins for more details.
  • Measuring the neutrino mass [1 position]. Ordinary neutrinos are the only dark matter particle known, but their mass has yet to be determined. The best limits come from cosmology and the large-scale distribution of galaxies. We have developed new techniques for high-precision cosmological simulations including neutrinos. We are also members of the DESI survey collaboration. The successful candidate will be encouraged to work both on the simulations - making predictions for observables, for example - and on the DESI data with the goal of measuring the neutrino mass. Please contact Prof. Carlos Frenk for details
  • Cosmological hydrodynamics simulations of galaxy formation [1 position]. The "COLIBRE" project is the successor of the EAGLE project, greatly extending the range of physical processes modelled in order to follow the formation of structure at high resolution. The successful applicant will be encouraged to work with these simulations on projects fitting their interests but which could range from the formation of the first galaxies through the structure of modern galaxies to galaxy clustering. Please contact Prof. Carlos Frenk for details.
  • Cosmological tests of gravity [1 position]. A three-year position is open in the area of cosmological tests of gravity. The successful candidate will work on the modelling of galaxy clustering in various modified gravity and dark energy models, assisted by numerical simulations. They will be involved in a DESI project to constrain beyond-LCDM models with standard and novel galaxy clustering statistics from DESI data. They are also welcomed to bring their own, complementary, research programme. Please contact Prof Baojiu Li for more details.
Please submit all application documents, including stating which posts you want to be considered for, to the Academic Jobs Online website. To ensure full consideration, complete applications, including references should be received by 14th December 2022.

Durham is ranked joint sixth globally for the number of highly cited researchers in Space Science (which covers research into astronomy and astrophysics), according to the Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers 2018 list.

There are 28 academic staff across the combined astronomy groups, with over 100 postdocs, postgraduate students and support and technical staff involved in astronomy research. The Durham Astronomy Research Cluster hosts the following groups:
In November 2016, the three main astronomy groups in the Department of Physics, the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation, the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy and the Institute for Computational Cosmology, moved into the brand new Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics building, designed by the world renowned Studio Daniel Libeskind.

Contact Details

Department of Physics,
Durham University,
South Road,
Durham DH1 3LE
Tel: 44 (0)191 3343635