PhD in Astrochemistry

A Ph.D. position in computational astrochemistry is available at Western University (Canada) with a nominal starting date of September 2021, under the joint supervision of Prof. Viktor N. Staroverov (Department of Chemistry) and Profs. Jan Cami and Els Peeters (Department of Physics & Astronomy).

Project description: The Universe is aglow with the infrared emission of large carbonaceous molecules such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and fullerenes. Their emission encodes a large amount of information about the physical and chemical environments in which they reside, and is a powerful messenger which can be used to study large-scale astrophysical processes such as star and planet formation, as well as galaxy evolution. The interpretation of these astronomical observations requires theoretically generated PAH spectra in conjunction with astronomical models of PAH evolution. This is particularly important and timely, given that the world is eagerly awaiting the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in October 2021. Hailed as the bigger and vastly more sensitive successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, JWST will allow researchers to process and analyze observations of unprecedented quality in order to study the Universe both near and far. Many JWST observations will be dominated by this emission due to large molecules. The goal of this project is to devise and carry out systematic theoretical simulations of PAH spectra relevant to the interpretation of JWST observations of diverse astronomical objects.

Requirements: A M.Sc. degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Astronomy, Astrophysics, or related fields, with a background in computational chemistry and/or quantum physics, and demonstrated experience in scientific programming.

Contact: Interested candidates are encouraged to contact Prof. Els Peeters <> as soon as practical for more information regarding the application process. This position will remain open until filled.