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2 Postdoctoral positions in Cosmology and Computational Science

Employer
University of Szczecin
Location
Warsaw, Poland
Salary
Unspecified
Posting live until
25 Jul 2024

The Szczecin Cosmology Group at the Institute of Physics of the University of Szczecin ( http://cosmo.usz.edu.pl ) and the Division of Intelligent Systems at the Department of Intelligent Technologies ( https://www.ippt.pan.pl/en/research-units/zti#division-of-intelligent-systems ) of the Institute of Fundamental Technological Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPPT-PAN) in Warsaw, invite applications for 2 Postdoctoral positions.

The positions are available through the OPUS 26 grant of the Polish National Science Center (NCN) led by prof. Vincenzo Salzano, at the University of Szczecin, as P.I., and entitled “Can a slime mold help us alleviate cosmological tensions?” . Co-P.I. will be prof. Tomasz Denkiewicz, at the University of Szcecin, and dr. Jacek Szklarski at IPPT-PAN.

In this project we will explore a new methodology to compare different cosmological models and theories by developing a tool completely independent of the gravitational theory. The goal is to use this tool to reconstruct the cosmic web and eventually help to resolve or mitigate present cosmological tensions in a (cosmologically) model-independent way.

We will start from the behaviour of a biological system, the Physarum polycephalum, a slime mould, one of those yellowish creatures that grow on your badly preserved food. While exploring space in search of food, the Physarum creates characteristic networks, with ``veins'' of the organism connecting all the positions where the food is located. These networks are not random, but are dictated by chemical and physical laws.

We will use the behaviour of this organism, we will simulate the way it moves and we will compare its web with the cosmic web. We already know that there are “visual” similarities. But can we “upgrade” the algorithm and use such gravity-independent web to understand how gravity works on large scales?

We will establish the feasibility of such approach by writing from the scratch a code to simulate the Physarum behaviour; by running several simulations to create Physarum “Universes”, including ad-hoc updates to simulate cosmological aspects (voids, baryons); by comparing them with cosmological simulations based on many cosmological models based on General Relativity. Finally, we will confront these Universes with the real Universe, using the most up-to-date data we have collected so far on the cosmic web, made up of millions of galaxies.

Given these goals, the requirements to apply for the Postdoctoral positions are:

Position A, based at the University of Szczecin:

  • 1) Ph.D. in Physics with specialization in Cosmology and/or Astrophysics, obtained not earlier than 7 years before commencing employment;
  • 2) a first postdoctoral experience (about 2-3 years) would be an asset, but is not required;
  • 3) demonstrated experience to modify, handle and run any of the many numerical codes currently used for cosmological simulations in General Relativity (and/or in Extended Theories of gravity). The candidate is expected to interpret and compare results from different gravitational scenarios with those obtained from slime models and with observational data. Any suitable programming language or framework can be used for this task;
  • 4) the ability to perform the described tasks should be backed by a relevant publication record by the candidate;


Position B, based at IPPT-PAN:

 

  • 1) Ph.D. in Computational Sciences or Physics (specialization in Cosmology, Astrophysics, Complex Systems, Multi-agent Systems, or a related field would be an asset but not mandatory), obtained not earlier than 7 years before commencing employment;
  • 2) a first postdoctoral experience (about 2-3 years) would be an asset, but is not required;
  • 3) demonstrated professional expertise in parallel programming, including GPGPU units, is necessary. The candidate is expected to efficiently implement slime models, run various parameter studies, and interpret and compare results with existing models. Any suitable programming language or framework can be used for this task. Additionally, the candidate is expected to explore applications of the slime model beyond cosmology, such as transport networks;
  • 4) the ability to perform the described tasks should be backed by a relevant publication record and software coded by the candidate (preferably in the form of open-source repositories).


The deadline for application is 31st October 2024. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews on 11th - 15th November 2024.

The research activities will begin on 1st January 2025 and last for 2 years (24 months). The gross yearly salary will amount to 140,000 PLN (corresponding to a monthly net salary of ~6900 PLN). In addition, the grant provides funding for hardware and travels both for visits at the two nodes of the project and to attend conferences.

For further inquiries, contact vincenzo.salzano@usz.edu.pl .

Applications should be sent to vincenzo.salzano@usz.edu.pl with the subject "OPUS 26 - Position X - Surname Name" (“X” set to A or B, as given in the descriptions above) and obligatory include all the following items in order to be considered:

1) detailed CV, including a cover letter of max. 1 page and a list of publications;

2) a statement of research interests (max. 3 pages);

3) copy of the Doctoral Thesis;

4) (at least) 2 reference letters.

Please, include at the end of your email the following clause regarding the personal data protection laws in EU: "I hereby authorize you to process my personal data included in my job application solely for the purpose of the selection process in accordance with the article 7 of of the Regulation of the European Parliament and Council (EU) 2016/679 of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) [OJ EU L. 2016.119.1 of 4 May 2016]."

 

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