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PhD position in Planet Formation (Theoretical Astrophysics)

The Planet Formation Group at the Center for Astronomy at Heidelberg University (ITA/ZAH) is seeking excellent candidates for a PhD project in Theoretical Astrophysics. The project will address the question of how rocky (exo-)planets form through the accretion of "pebbles". The goal is to find out how a protoplanet, which is being bombarded with large numbers of small pebble-size "dirty snowballs", will react to this accretion stream. Will its accretional heat or its pseudo-atmosphere cause the evaporation of the ices from these "pebbles" before they reach the surface? Will this limit the accretion flow and/or affect the young planet's future composition?

The project involves numerical modeling, both using existing hydrodynamics codes as well as developing one's own numerical models. Candidates should have an interest in computational physics, i.e. in numerical modeling, programming, and in designing algorithms to model physical processes. Prior experience in computational physics is considered to be an advantage, but not strictly necessary. A lack of astronomy background is not a problem (enrolling in the IMPRS program in Heidelberg will solve this), but a strong physics background is a prerequisite.

Any potential candidate is strongly encouraged to informally ask questions prior to an official application by simply emailing Prof. Cornelis Dullemond (

Applications should be directed in electronic form to:

Prof. Cornelis Dullemond
Institut für Theoretische Astrophysik (ITA),
Zentrum für Astronomie (ZAH)
Heidelberg University

and should include a letter of interest, a CV, a list of marks of university examinations, a (current draft of) the masters thesis, and the email addresses of two senior scientists who would be willing to answer questions.

While the project will be carried out at Heidelberg University, it also involves close collaboration with the group of Prof. Til Birnstiel at the LMU in Munich.

This project is part of (and funded by) the DFG Priority Programme 'Exploring the Diversity of Extrasolar Planets' (SPP 1992) which brings together different aspects of exoplanet research, theoretical as well as observational. This means that there will be ample opportunity for travel between the various nodes of this SPP in Germany, and for collaboration with peers across the many subdisciplines of the field of exoplanetary research. For more information on the SPP 1992 visit the programmes website:


Verantwortlich: Cornelis Petrus Dullemond, letzte Änderung am 18.08.2017 16:26 CEST
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