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Postdoctoral Associate Positions in Observational Astronomy & Astrophysics – Applications Closed

Deadline: 11:59pm, November 15, 2023

The Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) at Northwestern University invites applications for Postdoctoral Associate positions in observational astronomy and astrophysics.

All CIERA postdocs will benefit from a diverse and dynamic intellectual environment (learn more about CIERA’s programs and activities). Northwestern has institutional access to several mid- and large-scale optical/IR ground-based telescope facilities, including Keck, MMT, and the forthcoming La Silla Southern Sky Survey (LS4) and SEDMv2 (an ultra-low resolution IFU spectrograph for transient classification). Postdoctoral researchers can apply for nights through CIERA’s internal time allocation process (see for more information). CIERA researchers have exclusive access to two high-performance computer clusters, providing access to 2,644 compute cores. Additional HPC resources, including high-memory nodes, are available through Northwestern’s Quest cluster (see for more information). A dedicated Computational Specialist is also on staff to assist CIERA researchers.

For current areas of research led by CIERA faculty, as well as research resources and facilities, see:

Of particular interest this year are candidates to work with:

  • Prof. Adam Miller in time-domain astronomy, including the study of Type Ia supernovae, astrophysical transients, variable stars, and the classification of each of the aforementioned phenomena via machine learning. The successful candidate(s) will lead and participate in observations of these sources, while also having access to the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) and La Silla Southern Sky Survey (LS4) time-domain surveys. The group is also focused on building tools that can be applied to the Vera C. Rubin Observatory/LSST. Applicants with previous experience in UV/optical/IR spectroscopy and imaging (from space or from the ground) and/or building machine learning models are especially encouraged to apply. The Miller group offers opportunities to work on citizen science projects and maintains strong interdisciplinary connections, which will be available to the successful applicant.
  • Prof. Lena Murchikova on observations, theory, and computations of multiphase gas accretion onto supermassive black holes. With a particular focus on our nearest black hole Sagittarius A*.
  • Prof. Allison Strom on galaxy formation and evolution in the intermediate- and high-redshift universe, specifically using observations of z~2-3 galaxies from the Keck Baryonic Structure Survey (KBSS) and a large z~1 galaxy survey that will be conducted with the Prime Focus Spectrograph (PFS) on the Subaru Telescope beginning in mid-2024. Successful candidates will have the opportunity to lead the analysis and interpretation of novel datasets, plan and conduct follow-up observations, and develop new tools for studying galaxy chemistry. Applicants with previous experience in emission line spectroscopy, photoionization modeling, and/or data science are especially welcome.


Please submit applications electronically to Academic Jobs Online (Job IDs 25515) . Applications should include a cover letter (stating your interest in and relevant experience/skills for the position), a CV (including a list of publications with the most important 1 to 3 publications indicated with an asterisk), a three-page statement of research accomplishments and plans, and arrange for at least three letters of recommendation to be uploaded to Academic Jobs Online. All questions should be sent by email to Applications received by November 15, 2023 will receive full consideration. Later applications will be considered until all positions are filled.

Please state the position in which you are applying in your cover letter (CIERA Postdoctoral Fellowship; or CIERA Theoretical Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Associate; or CIERA Observational Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Associate). If you wish to apply for other CIERA positions, submit a separate application per position applied. Applicants must complete their Ph.D. requirements prior to appointment.

CIERA is committed to creating a welcoming, safe, and inclusive community for everyone. Every person connected to CIERA, including its visitors, upholds our shared values by seeking diverse perspectives and deliberately working to increase access and equity of people from marginalized groups. We recognize that true excellence only comes from the meaningful integration of all perspectives in our community and culture. CIERA also participates with University-wide diversity & inclusion efforts: Northwestern’s Mission and Vision, Northwestern’s Office of Equity.

Northwestern University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and does not discriminate against qualified individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, marital status, age, disability, citizenship status, veteran status, genetic information, or any other protected class. Individuals from all diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.  For more information, please see the University’s Policy on Discrimination and Harassment at

Included Benefits:

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Image Credit: Ethan Tweedie Photography/W. M. Keck Observatory (from