Job offer

PhD student position in gravitational-wave astronomy

The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) is the largest research institute in the world specializing in general relativity and beyond. Around 200 international scientists work at the research labs and offices located in Potsdam-Golm and Hannover, Germany.

The Albert Einstein Institute in Hannover is offering a position for a PhD student in the newly formed independent research group led by Frank Ohme. The research focus is on the interpretation of gravitational- wave observations made by the Advanced LIGO+Virgo network with the help of Bayesian parameter estimation techniques and numerical simulations of colliding binaries. The start date is negotiable, but can be as early as 1 st January 2017.

Our research

We are part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, the consortium of ~1000 scientists across the world who carry out the world’s biggest experiment to detect and interpret space-time distortions known as gravitational waves. After last year’s breakthrough discoveries of gravitational waves emitted by black hole binaries, we are now entering the exciting era of gravitational-wave astronomy.

The independent research group led by Frank Ohme will use large scale numerical simulations of colliding black hole (and/or neutron star) binaries to interpret experimental data from gravitational-wave detectors and extract the source properties of binary observations. Other research pursued at the Albert Einstein Institute include analysis algorithms for a variety of gravitational-wave sources, analytical and numerical signal modelling, tests of General Relativity, as well as gravitational-wave detector improvements.

Your profile

We are looking for a highly motivated student to work in our newly established independent research group. You should have a University degree in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science or related fields, with interest in one or more of the following research areas:

  1. Gravitational-wave data analysis.
  2. Gravitational-wave theory.
  3. Numerical simulations of black hole or neutron star binaries.
  4. Bayesian parameter estimation methods.
  5. Astrophysics of binary formation and merger.
  6. Signal processing and signal reduction.

The ability to speak English fluently, presenting and discussing research results in a team are essential. Knowledge of German is not required, although we encourage and support learning German.

Experience in the programming languages C/C++, python or Mathematica is desired.

We offer

  • Work in an international research environment with the advantages of regular interactions in a newly established, small research team, as well as the opportunity to benefit from the wide range of expertise at the Albert Einstein Institute and courses at the Leibniz University Hannover.
  • Funding contract of Max Planck Society with a salary based on the pay scale of public services in Germany (similar to TVöD, 50% E13, exact salary depends on personal circumstances and will be specified as part of an offer), fully integrated in comprehensive German social security scheme (health insurance, unemployment insurance etc.).
  • Support and funding to finish the PhD within 3 years, with a potential extension of further 6 months.
  • Sufficient group budget to attend international conferences, visit or invite collaborators.
  • Access to world-class computing facilities in house. Opportunity to be involved in cluster management, if desired.
  • Flexible working hours and active support of healthy work/life balance.

The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics promotes women and encourages especially women to apply. Handicapped candidates will be given priority in case of the same professional qualification.

Your application

If you are interested in joining our research team, please submit the following documents to by September 15, 2016; use the subject line “PhD MPRG Hannover”:

  • Cover letter stating your research interests and future aspirations (max. 2 pages).
  • Curriculum vitae

Send these documents as one joint PDF (max. file size 2MB). Additionally, please arrange for one recommendation letter to be sent to same email address and provide contact details for a second senior scientist/lecturer who could provide a recommendation letter for you upon request.

For questions, please contact Frank Ohme ( directly.

Applications will remain possible after the deadline (15th September 2016) in case the position has not been filled.

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