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Research Fellow in Astrophysics (Hydrodynamics)

Astronomy Group

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £34,980 to £42,978 per annum
Full Time Fixed Term until 31 March 2025
Closing Date:  Saturday 30 September 2023
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  2413323WF

A Research Fellow position is available within the Southampton Astronomy Group to work on a project aimed at modelling accretion disk winds in active galactic nuclei (AGN). The main goal of the project is to work with and further develop a multi-dimensional radiation-hydrodynamics (RHD) code that is capable of modelling line-driven disk accretion winds self-consistently. Our RHD code couples our own state-of-the-art Monte Carlo ionization and radiative transfer code with PLUTO, a well-known hydrodynamics code. 

You will take the lead in using our new RHD code to model line-driven disk winds in AGN. You will also collaboratively work on further development of the code, on both the radiation and hydrodynamics sides. This may include, for example, implementing a treatment of general relativity, speeding up the radiative transfer calculations (especially in the optically thick regime), developing visualization tools and improving the interface between the two codes. The project will also encompass comparing the results of the simulations to observations. 

A PhD or equivalent professional qualifications and experience in astronomy or astrophysics is required for this position. Expertise in relevant computational hydrodynamics is essential. Direct experience with the PLUTO hydrodynamics code is highly desirable, as is experience with (ideally Monte Carlo) radiative transfer and/or radiation-hydrodynamics. A solid understanding of accretion flows in AGN and/or compact binaries is also desirable.

The project is led by Christian Knigge (Southampton) and is part of a close collaboration with Knox Long (STScI), Stuart Sim (QUB) and James Matthews (Cambridge/Oxford). The start date for the position is Nov 1, 2023 (or as soon as possible thereafter). Funding is secure through at least March 2025, but we will propose for additional funding beyond this (you will have a chance to be closely involved in this process). The starting salary is in the range £34,980 to £42,978. 

Accretion onto compact objects across all scales is a major area of research within the Southampton Astronomy Group. The group is part of the School of Physics & Astronomy in the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, which brings together fundamental physics research with one of the UK's largest and strongest computer science departments. We have access to the University's state-of-the-art Iridis computing clusters, which will be used extensively for this project. We are also part of the STAG Institute (Southampton Theory, Astronomy and Gravitation), which combines researchers across Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics.

At the University of Southampton, we value diversity and equality. The University recognises that employees may wish to have working patterns that fit with their caring responsibilities or work-life balance. Due consideration will also be given to applicants who have had career breaks for reasons including maternity, paternity or adoption leave, disability or illness. Both the University of Southampton and Physics & Astronomy are proud to hold Athena Swan Silver Awards. The School of Physics & Astronomy is also a Project Juno Champion.

Contact Christian Knigge via email if you want to discuss this vacancy or have any questions

Applications will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification. The title of Research Fellow will be applied upon completion of PhD.   Prior to the qualification being awarded the title of Senior Research Assistant will be given.

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