Freie Stelle am MPE / Vacant Position at MPE

2012-06-19;     Ref.: 12/12

PhD in Observational Astronomy in Gamma-Ray Bursts

Job Offer from June 19, 2012

Multi-wavelength properties of gamma-ray burst afterglows and host galaxies.

Job description

Interested candidates to pursue a PhD in observational astronomy in gamma-ray bursts and their environments are invited to apply for a fully-funded PhD studentship at the high-energy department of MPE, in Garching.

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the result of a cosmic explosion event that forms a relativistic outflow, subsequently releasing vast amounts of energy in the GeV to radio energy range. Their initial outburst and multi-wavelength afterglow are short lived, making early-time follow-up observations indispensible when studying these spectacular phenomena.

The launch of the multi-wavelength, rapid-response Swift satellite, in 2004, marked the start of a new era in the research of GRB afterglows, and revolutionized the field of GRB X-ray afterglows. Together with Swift, semi-automated ground-based telescopes have proven critical in the investigation of distant GRBs and their host galaxies, where the importance of near-infrared (nIR) wavelength observations is becoming increasingly apparent.

GROND is an MPE-built imaging camera designed to observe the early-time GRB afterglow in 3 nIR and 4 optical filters simultaneously. The combination of GROND imaging, and Swift X-ray data provide accurate observations with which to rigorously test the GRB emission “fireball” model, as well as to study in great detail the imprint that is left on the intrinsically simple, afterglow from the host galaxy and other intervening material. MPE also built the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) onboard the Fermi satellite, capabable of detecting very high energy emission from GRBs. The MPE high-energy group thus combines the investigation of the prompt and afterglow GRB properties, and over a broad wavelength range.

Your profile

The high-energy group is looking for two enthusiastic and bright students to pursue a doctorate in observational astrophysics to investigate the multi-wavelength properties of GRB afterglows. Both PhDs will involve the analysis of GROND and Swift X-ray GRB data, as well as possible X-shooter spectroscopic data, and far-IR and submillimetre Herschel and APEX data. Candidates should have an interest in at least one of the following topics: relativistic physics, massive star formation, the interstellar medium of high-redshift galaxies, chemical evolution of the Universe. The successful applicants will be supervised by Dr. Jochen Greiner or Dr. Patricia Schady, and will work alongside a diverse and vibrant team of young and experienced scientists. As part of the doctorate, the successful applicants will also participate in frequent GROND observing trips in La Silla, Chile, and take an active role in observing proposals.


The contract (TVöD 13/2) will be for 3 years and upon successful completion the candidate will be awarded the doctoral degree in physics of the Technischen Universität of München (TUM). Applicants must have an equivalent of a master's degree in astronomy or physics at the start of the studentship, and a basic knowledge of programming is essential.

Interested candidates should send their CV, one recommendation letter and a summary of previous research activities (~1 page) to Dr. Jochen Greiner (

The Max-Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer and women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

© Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik

Letzte Änderung / Last update: 2012-06-20 by linkH. Steinle
Kontakt / Contact: linkH.-P. Gschnell
Bewerbungen in elektronischer Form senden Sie an / Applications in electronic form are to be sent to