Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Active Region Formation using Solar Orbiter and DKIST

Updated: about 9 hours ago
Job Type: Permanent

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral research assistant position jointly funded by the Wolf Foundation, through the Institute of Particle Physics and Astrophysics at ETH Zurich, and by the Istituto ricerche solari Aldo e Cele Daccò (IRSOL), Locarno.

The Wolf Foundation, in memory of the Swiss scientist Rudolph Wolf, the founder of the Zurich federal observatory at ETH and a pioneer of systematic sunspot studies in Switzerland since 1848, has allocated funding for research of sunspots and solar activity using modern observing facilities. 

The Institute of Particle Physics and Astrophysics at ETH Zurich hosts a solar astrophysics group. The lead, Prof. Dr. Louise Harra, is also the director at PMOD/WRC in Davos. Founded in 1907, PMOD/WRC is concerned with the study of solar radiation and its effect on the Earth's climate. PMOD/WRC has been involved in space instrumentation since the 1980s, including the spectrometer SPICE and the EUV Imager EUI onboard the ESA Solar Orbiter mission, and the future Solar Spectral Irradiance Monitor onboard the JAXA Solar-C mission.

The Istituto ricerche solari Aldo e Cele Daccò (IRSOL, Locarno) carries out research in solar physics with a focus on solar magnetism, using high-precision solar spectropolarimetry, advanced approaches in theory, numerical modelling, data science, and magnetohydrodynamic simulations. IRSOL operates the worldwide most precise solar polarimeter ZIMPOL in Locarno and at Europe’s largest solar telescope GREGOR (Tenerife, Spain), and has contributed the polarimetric unit for the first-generation instrument VTF at the world-largest DKI Solar Telescope (DKIST, Maui, USA).  Prof. Dr. Svetlana Berdyugina who leads the Solar Magnetism and Space Weather group is also IRSOL's director and professor affiliated at Università della Svizzera italiana (USI).

Project background

This position is dedicated to the analysis of data from the Solar Orbiter mission, DKIST and GREGOR in order to understand the formation and evolution of active regions. PMOD/WRC is actively engaged in the SPICE and EUI data analysis and operations. A number of observing campaigns between Solar Orbiter and DKIST have been carried out already. IRSOL has developed a suit of theoretical and data analysis numerical tools that allows for inferring magnetic and thermodynamic properties of solar active regions in the photosphere and chromosphere from spectropolarimetric data such as of DKIST, GREGOR and ZIMPOL.

Job description

The main duties are to undertake original research in the area of solar physics. Specifically, the topic is to study the evolution and infer properties of active regions, using data from the Solar Orbited and the new 4m telescope DKIST which had its first light at the end of 2019. It is expected that the postdoc will communicate the results through regular publications in high-impact journals and presentations at conferences. The postdoc will also actively collaborate within the PMOD/WRC and IRSOL groups, as well as with the Solar Orbiter and DKIST teams to prepare for new scientific opportunities and observing plans. This appointment will be joint with ETHZ, IRSOL and PMOD/WRC. The work place is in Davos and/or Locarno and the position is for 1 year.

  • It is expected that you will have a PhD in a relevant field with a strong background in physics
  • Experience in solar space data and magnetic field data analysis techniques is desirable
  • The solar data analysis and calibration software packages are in IDL and python, so experience in one of these is desirable



We offer

ETH Zurich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity and attractive offers and benefits.

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Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • CV and publication list
  • A research plan (1 page long) that describes your scientific goals using Solar Orbiter

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. 

Further information about PMOD/WRC can be found on our website . The information about IRSOL can be found at its website . Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Dr. Louise Harra, email: [email protected]  and Prof. Dr.Svetlana Berdyugina ([email protected] ) (no applications by emails).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

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