Research Associate

University of Bristol - School of Physics

The Astrophysics group at the School of Physics, University of Bristol is looking to appoint a research associate to work with Dr Ben Maughan, Professor Mark Birkinshaw, and Professor Malcolm Bremer on projects to determine the nature of the evolution of clusters and their galaxies, and the processes responsible. The work will be based around the construction of a large, complete sample of galaxy clusters with X-ray data, along with subsets that benefit from weak lensing and/or galaxy caustic data. Advanced statistical techniques will be used to investigate the multivariate correlations between cluster properties to test models of feedback physics and cluster evolution and also explore the reliability of different cluster mass-estimation techniques. The overall goal is to better characterise and explain the evolution of clusters and their galaxies, and to facilitate the improved cosmological constraints that can be achieved with current and near future cluster surveys.

Over the past 15 years, the study of clusters of galaxies has been revolutionised by the observational capabilities of the Chandra and XMM-Newton X-ray observatories. Our appreciation of the complex interplay between gravitational and non-gravitational processes and their influence on the evolution of clusters has deepened, while at the same time our ambition to exploit clusters as precise cosmological probes has become a reality. The motivation to study the processes that drive the growth and evolution of clusters (and the co-evolution of their member galaxies) is driven by the necessity of learning about these mechanisms if we are to understand the development of structure in the Universe on galactic scales and greater, and to achieve increased precision in the cosmological applications of cluster studies.

You should hold a PhD in Astronomy, Astrophysics, Physics or related discipline, the ability to reduce and analyse observational data on clusters or groups of galaxies, the ability to interpret results in the context of relevant theories and models and be able to draw original conclusions, the ability to present work suitable for publication in the best research journals. Familiarity with standard astronomical software packages and the ability to write clear computer code is also essential. You should have excellent written and spoken English, be strongly self-motivated and able to work well in a team. The position is available from 1st April 2018 and we expect the successful candidate to be in post as soon as possible after that date.

Please provide a covering letter explaining your suitability for the post together with a curriculum vitae.

Please can two letters of reference be emailed directly to Ben Maughan, ben.maughan@bristol.ac.uk, by the closing date.

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Ben Maughan, ben.maughan@bristol.ac.uk or Professor Mark Birkinshaw, mark.birkinshaw@bristol.ac.uk.

The University is committed to creating and sustaining a fully inclusive culture.  We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and communities.

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