Postdoc in Atmospheric Electricity - DTU Space

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 15 Oct 2023 - 23:59 (Europe/Copenhagen)

29 Aug 2023
Job Information

Danmarks Tekniske Universitet

Research Field

Physics » Computational physics
Chemistry » Computational chemistry
Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

15 Oct 2023 - 23:59 (Europe/Copenhagen)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

We offer a 2.5-year Postdoc position to develop a novel high-performance computer code to study the emission of relativistic electrons and terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs), bursts of energetic X- and gamma-rays from thunderstorms, in the atmosphere of Primordial Earth and investigate their role in the formation of amino and carbon acids.

The project aims to understand how relativistic electrons and TGFs were emitted in the atmosphere of Primordial Earth and how they triggered the formation of (pre-)biotic molecules. The seminal Miller-Urey experiment indicates that lightning may have contributed to the origin of life on Earth through the formation of amino acids and carbon acids. However, we do not understand the role of energetic particles emitted from thunderstorms on the production of (pre-)biotic material.

You will be working in a group of PhD students, postdocs and senior scientists who work on computational physics and chemistry related to atmospheric discharges. You will be exposed to a variety of research areas that include plasma physics, particle physics, chemistry and computer science.

The project is a collaboration between DTU Space and DTU Compute. You will be co-supervised by a professor from the University of Belgrade, where you will have the opportunity for an external research stay.

Responsibilities and qualifications
You will work within a larger project, see above, where you will work with and help to develop a hybrid model (particle + fluid) of the emission of energetic electrons and photons from thunderstorms in the atmosphere of Primordial Earth as well as their propagation. You will couple this to a chemistry model of how energetic particles form organic molecules. You will use the code to simulate the emission of energetic particles on Primordial Earth and evaluate the influence of these particles on the formation of (pre-)biotic molecules.

We are looking for a candidate with a relevant background in computational physics and computational chemistry, with an interest in the topic of electrical discharges. Your primary research tasks will be to:

  • Contribute to the development of a hybrid model for discharges and TGFs consisting of a particle and a fluid model
  • Understand discharge inception and properties in the atmosphere of Primordial Earth (e.g. from hydrometeors)
  • Simulate the acceleration of electrons to relativistic energies and the production and propagation of terrestrial gamma-ray flashes in the atmosphere of Primordial Earth
  • Develop a high-performance chemistry model of relativistic particles in the atmosphere of Primordial Earth for the newest generation of parallel supercomputer architectures
  • Couple the relativistic emission and propagation model and the chemistry model and simulate the production of organic molecules by energetic electrons and TGFs

We also expect you to take on advising tasks supporting PhD and Master students and in general promote a positive research environment. We are looking for candidates with positive, curious, inclusive and transparent mindset and value grounds. Documented leadership and teamwork skills are an advantage.

As a formal qualification, you must hold a PhD degree (or equivalent) in a field of computational physics and chemistry. 

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility. 

Salary and terms of employment 
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union.

The period of employment is 2.5 years.

The starting will be January, 1st, 2024 (or according to mutual agreement).

You can read more about career paths at DTU here .

Further information 
Further information may be obtained from Christoph Köhn, e-mail:  

You can read more about DTU Space at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark .

Application procedure 
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 15 October 2023 (23:59 Danish time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • Application (cover letter)
  • CV
  • Academic Diplomas (MSc/PhD)
  • List of publications 
  • Contact details of two individuals who can provide a reference letter

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear mission to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That mission lives on today. DTU has 13,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.

Research Field
Physics » Computational physics
Education Level
PhD or equivalent

Research Field
Chemistry » Computational chemistry
Education Level
PhD or equivalent

Additional Information
Work Location(s)
Number of offers available

Where to apply


View or Apply

Similar Positions