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Postdoc in stellar evolution

Free University of Brussels (ULB)
Brussels, Belgium
Posting live until
25 Jul 2024

Formation of hot subdwarfs

The institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the Free University of Brussels (ULB) in collaboration with the University of Liege (ULiege) is opening a postdoctoral position for a young researcher (less than 8 years after PhD thesis) to work on the formation of Hot subdwarfs.


Hot subdwarfs (sdO/B stars) are small, core-helium burning stars that have lost almost all of their envelope while ascending the first red giant branch. The details of this mass loss and the precise origin of sdO/B stars are poorly understood, but rely on scenarios involving binary evolution with stellar or substellar companions.

The project will focus on the modeling of the evolution of binary systems composed of a red giant branch star (RGB) and a low mass companion using the codes developed at ULB. The goal is to study the interactions (mass and angular momentum transfers) between these objects to determine under which conditions the evolution can lead to the ejection of the envelope and the formation of a sdO/B star. This study will be done at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) with Dr Lionel Siess in close collaboration with Dr Valérie Van Grootel in Liège. This subject requires knowledge in stellar evolution and good skills in fortran90.

Applicant's Profile:

The candidate must have a PhD in physics, preferentially astrophysics or nuclear physics awarded no later than 8 years before the start of the contract

The candidate must have a good programming knowledge in Fortran and a strong interest in numerical calculations;

The applicant should have good a taste for interdisciplinary research, excellent scientific writing and presenting skills and be able to work independently.

Working in our international team requires capacity of team work and a good level of English language


Interested candidates should send their applications to and

The application should contain a cover letter, CV, publication list, and a statement of research experience and future research interests (2-3 pages). Please mention how the candidate’s past experience and his/her/their skills could complement the present project. Candidates should also arrange for two reference letters.

The starting date of the contract is flexible but should be no later than Dec 2024. The position will be filled as soon as the adequate candidate is found. Early applications are encouraged.

The position is funded for 2 years with the possibility to extend to 3 years contingent on satisfactory performance.

The researcher will benefit from a tax-free postdoctoral fellowship at ULB. Salaries are around 2600€/month net, with unemployment insurance and pension. An operating and equipment budget is available.

More details about the research environment or the working conditions can be obtained from Lionel Siess ( and Valérie Van Grootel (

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