In the late stages of their evolution, low- to intermediate-mass stars (LIMS) are in a rapid transition from the Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) to the White Dwarf (WD) cooling track through the transient post-AGB and the Planetary Nebula (PNe) phases. During their ascent of the AGB, stars eject most of their initial mass. This ejecta (mainly in the form of gas, but with some contribution in the form of dust) is enriched in C, N and heavy elements as a result of internal nucleosynthesis and subsequent transport to the stellar surface. It forms the major source of these elements for their host galaxy. Although this evolution scheme is well established, there is little understanding from first principles of the different important physical processes that govern these evolutionary phases. More importantly, the evolution of any star, especially during the giant phases will be strongly affected if the star is in a binary system.
Three Ph.D. positions are therefore open in the framework of the STARLAB project (see also summary below) involving the Institut d'Astronomie of the Université libre de Bruxelles, the Royal Observatory of Belgium, and the Instituut voor Sterrenkunde of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, located within 25 kms of each other in central Belgium.
The goal of the STARLAB project is to improve our understanding of these key physical and chemical processes at work in single and binary low- and intermediate-mass stars. A first Ph.D. project is focused on abundance determinations in late-type stars as tracers for nucleosynthesis and mixing processes, another on binary-star interaction physics, and the third one on the study of the circumstellar environment of late-type mass-losing stars as tracers for the mass loss processes.
The Ph.D. students will be co-supervised by teams from a pair of the institutes and will receive joint Ph.D. degrees. A work plan has been established that implies extended stays at one and the other among the two supervising institutes. The net monthly salary is about 1900 EUR/month, including social security benefits. Contracts are for one year, renewable up to 4 years, depending on positive progress reviews. Candidates will participate in the teaching (in English, if the candidate is not French or Dutch speaking) or other functional work. The initial contract is under provision of acceptance in the Doctoral School programme of the universities at stake.
Starting date is September 1st, 2015. Deadline for applications is Sunday, June 28, midnight CET.
Profile: With this vacancy, we are searching for excellent and motivated PhD students with a master diploma in astrophysics, physics or mathematics.
For more information please contact Prof. Alain Jorissen at +32.2.6502834 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Application: You can apply by sending
- a motivation letter,
- at least one letter of reference,
- a resume / curriculum vitae, including the final grades,
- if possible, the grade transcript for individual courses,
- and, if possible, the electronic version of the master thesis
to email@example.com indicating which Ph.D. project is preferred (i, ii, or iii below).
Specifically, three Ph.D. positions are open with the following goals:
Supervisors: H. Van Winckel (KUL), S. Van Eck (ULB)
Supervisors: L. Siess (ULB), H. Van Winckel (KUL)
Supervisors: L. Decin (KUL) and M. Groenewegen (ROB)