Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology

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The Department of Physics is looking for a candidate for a postdoctoral position in comet plasma physics. This is a full-time (100%) position for two years. Starting date as soon as possible or according to agreement. The application deadline is 3 May 2019.

Project description and working tasks
The aim of the project is to accomplish a breakthrough in our understanding of how boundary layers at comets are formed.

The Rosetta spacecraft has provided an extensive dataset from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. One of the most important questions after the Rosetta mission concerns what physics lies behind the formation of boundaries at a comet. Rosetta has provided a vast observational dataset from both the diamagnetic cavity boundary and the infant bow shock, but the details of the physics of these boundaries are not fully understood. In this project we shall use both Rosetta data and computer simulations to shine a light on the processes behind boundary formation and the physics that govern their behaviour.

The major work tasks of the postdoc are, first, to use computer simulations to model the formation of the diamagnetic cavity at the comet in close collaboration with those who are analysing data from the Rosetta spacecraft. The goal is to provide an explanation of the physical processes behind diamagnetic cavity formation at comets. Secondly, the postdoc will use computer simulations of plasma processes at the bow shocks of comets in combination with spacecraft data to advance our understanding of bow shock physics both at comets and in general. 

Some teaching tasks may be included, e.g. master thesis supervision within the area of the postdoc.

The postdoctoral project is financed by the Swedish National Space Agency.

The position is a two-year full-time employment. Starting date as soon as possible or according to agreement.

To qualify for the position, you must have a PhD degree, or a foreign degree that is deemed equivalent to a doctoral degree in plasma physics, space physics, or in another field relevant to the project. To be eligible the degree should have been completed a maximum of three years before the end of the application period unless special circumstances exist.

Experience from plasma simulations is required. Kinetic simulation methods, such as particle-in-cell or Vlasov simulations, is a merit. Good programming skills are required (e.g. C, Fortran, Matlab, Python, etc.), in particular for scientific applications. Experience of space plasma research and knowledge of space plasma physics is meritorious as is knowledge of cometary plasma physics and experience in analysing satellite data from comets is a merit. Previous experience of university teaching is also a merit. Good skills in written and spoken English are required.


The application should include:

1. A cover letter stating your motives for applying and summarizing your qualifications for the position, your previous research and teaching experience as well as your experience in the area mentioned above (maximum 5 pages).

2. A description of how you would approach the project described above and a suggestion of a tentative research plan that fits your expertise (maximum 5 pages),

3. A curriculum vitae (CV) with a publication list,

4. Copies of doctoral degree certificate and other relevant degree certificates,

5. A copy of the PhD thesis and of relevant publications,

6. Contact information of two reference persons.

7. Other documents that the applicant wishes to include.

The application must should be written in Swedish or English (preferably). Applications must be submitted via the e-recruitment system Varbi no later than 3 May 2019.

For further information, contact Herbert Gunell,

Applications must be submitted via the e-recruitment system Varbi no later than 3 May 2019.

We look forward to receiving your application!

Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
Contract type Full time
First day of employment As soon as possible or according to agreement
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100%
City Umeå
County Västerbottens län
Country Sweden
Reference number AN 2.2.1-385-19
  • Herbert Gunell, +46 90 7865049
Union representative
  • SACO, 090-786 53 65
  • ST, 090-786 54 31
  • SEKO, 090-786 52 96
Published 07.Mar.2019
Last application date 03.May.2019 11:59 PM CET

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