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4 PhD Positions

The Compact Binary group of the Department of Astrophysics of the Radboud University Nijmegen invites applications for four PhD positions, largely funded by the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA) and partly by SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research and the RU. Position 1: The Galactic population of open clusters The aim of the project is to use optical data from the European Galactic Plane Surveys and infrared data from the UKIRT Galactic Plane Survey and the VISTA VVV survey to investigate the population of open clusters in our Milky Way Galaxy and to understand the formation, evolution and survival/ dissipation of open clusters in the Galactic environment. Special attention will be paid to the distribution of open clusters as a function of Galactocentric radius and metallicity. The project will allow to a) obtain deeper and more homogeneous coverage of known Galactic open clusters, b) study the effect of Galactic position on cluster evolution, both observationally as well as numerically and c) effectively search for new open clusters. This PhD project will be supervised by prof.dr. Paul Groot (RU Nijmegen), dr. Soeren Larsen (Utrecht University) and prof.dr. Simon Portegies Zwart (University Leiden). Considerable time will be be spent at each university, with a start period in Nijmegen. Position 2: The population of ultracompact binaries in the Milky Way The focus will lie on AM CVntype ultracompact binaries as found in major, large scale static (IPHAS/UVEX/GBS) and synoptic (PTF/SkyMapper) surveys, as well as the spectroscopic followup with e.g. VLT/XShooter and the SALT/RSS. The aim of the project is to come to a better understanding of the evolution and population of ultracompact binaries, their relation to other post commonenvelope binary populations, and their contribution to the lowfrequency gravitational wave signal in the LISA regime. This PhD project will be supervised by prof.dr. Paul Groot (RU), prof. dr. Frank Verbunt (UU) and dr. Gijs Nelemans (RU). Position 3: The formation of Black Holes in Xray binaries At present it is unclear what stars form black holes and how this happens. What masses do black holes have? Do they get kicks like neutron stars? In this project the properties of Galactic black hole Xray binaries (black hole masses, height above the Galactic plane etc.) will be used to constrain these questions. A substantial part of the project will be concerned with optical and NIR observations that improve the knowledge of the properties of these objects. We will study known systems as well as newly discovered ones from ongoing Xray, optical and radio (transient) surveys such as the Galactic Bulge Survey, PTF and LOFAR. Constraints on blackhole formation and binary evolution will be obtained via population modelling and comparison with neutron star Xray binaries. This PhD project will be supervised by dr. Peter Jonker (SRON/RU), dr. Gijs Nelemans (RU) and prof. dr. Paul Groot (RU) and be in collaboration with dr. James MillerJones (Curtin University, Australia).

Position 4: Recoiling black holes as probes of gravitational wave radiation This a a joint project between the RU and the HighEnergy Astrophysics Division of SRON. In the CDM cosmological framework, supermassive black holes are formed via accretion of gas and mergers of smallermass black holes. Analytic and numerical relativity calculations have shown that upon a merger the newly formed black hole will receive a kick due to the linear momentum carried away by gravitational wave radiation. The aim of this project is to search for and investigate recoiling supermassive black hole candidates and thus constrain the magnitude and rate of such gravitational wave kicks, which is important in preparations for LISA and for testing scenarios of the growth of supermassive black holes. The project is observational in nature where the prospective PhD Student will mainly work on Xray (Chandra and XMMNewton) and optical (ground based and HST) data of candidate recoiling super massive black holes. The main goal of the project is to constrain the number and observational characteristics of the recoiling supermassive black holes by study of the candidates that have been selected. The PhD student will be based both in Nijmegen as well as in Utrecht, the Netherlands and work under the supervision of dr. Peter Jonker (SRON/RU) and dr. Gijs Nelemans (RU). Selection of candidates commences January 15, 2011 and continue until all positions are filled. Starting dates can be immediately or later this year. For positions 1 and 2 a considerably amount of time may be spent at the California Institute of Technology in the period March 2011 January 2012 due to the sabbatical of Paul Groot. Candidates must hold a Master's degree in (astro)physics or equivalent at the start of the PhD project. Salaries are according to the collective labor agreement for Dutch universities and start at Euro 2042 gross/month. Endofyear and holiday allowances will additionally be paid. Applications should include a CV, motivation and two letters of references, which can be sent with the application or separately to the address below. We also request a brief (at most 1 page) statement of research interests. Application letters, preferably in electronic format should be sent to: Secretariat, Department of Astrophysics Radboud University Nijmegen P.O. Box 9010, 6500 GL Nijmegen The Netherlands [email protected] quoting 'NOVA PhD positions' and should indicate if the application is for a specific position. Email inquiries can be directed to: · Paul Groot ([email protected]) and/or Soeren Larsen ([email protected]) for position 1 · Paul Groot ([email protected]) for position 2 · Gijs Nelemans ([email protected]) for position 3 · Peter Jonker ([email protected]) for position 4


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