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Postdoctoral Scholar in Astronomy - Stellar Spectroscopy

The Galactic Archaeology group at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) seeks a postdoctoral researcher skilled in stellar spectroscopy.  Under the supervision of Professor Evan Kirby, the researcher will work primarily on preparation for and analysis of the Galactic Archaeology component of the Subaru Prime Focus Spectrograph (PFS) survey.  The ideal candidate will have experience in deriving the properties of stars from their spectra, including radial velocities, temperatures, metallicities, and detailed abundances.  We will explore a variety of techniques, such as equivalent widths, spectral synthesis, and machine learning.  The applicant need not have experience in all of these techniques.  Strong programming skills are highly desired.

This position is for a term of one (1) year with the possibility of two or more one-year reappointments assuming satisfactory performance and availability of funding.  The start date is negotiable but envisioned to be around September 2020.  The applicant should have obtained a Ph.D. in astronomy, physics, or a related field by the beginning of employment. 

PFS is a massively multiplexed spectrograph that will be installed at the prime focus of the 8.2-meter Subaru Telescope.  Its 1.4-degree field of view includes 2,394 individually positionable fibers.  PFS anticipates commencement of a 5 to 6 year survey in early 2022.  It is envisioned that one third of the 300+ nights allocated to the project will be devoted to Galactic Archaeology.  The survey team will measure the dynamics and chemical abundances of tens of thousands of stars in Local Group dwarf galaxies, the halo of the Andromeda Galaxy, and the outer disk of the Milky Way.  Most of these targets are unique to PFS and will not be a significant portion of the surveys of any other massively multiplexed spectrograph.  For more information, see  The position advertised here includes privileged access to PFS spectra and data products.

Caltech postdocs have the opportunity to propose for time on all of Caltech’s astronomical facilities, including those at Palomar Observatory and at the W. M. Keck Observatory.

Electronic copies of the curriculum vitae, publications list (indicate articles which appeared in refereed journals), and a statement of research experience and interests are required.  PDF submissions are preferred.  The applicant is requested to ensure that at least three letters of recommendation are also provided.  Applicants and letter writers may send PDF submissions to Judy McClain.  For questions about this opportunity, please contact Evan Kirby.  The deadline for the application is DECEMBER 15, 2019.

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.  Caltech is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor. To read more about Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) go to eeoc_self_print_poster.pdf.