Long-term research expert in GW simulation and analysis for LISA, Leuven, Belgium

More info:  external link
Deadline:  2023-12-04

Location:  Leuven, Belgium

We are inviting applications for the position of a long-term research expert in gravitational wave simulation and data analysis for LISA.

Recent discoveries of gravitational waves from merging black holes and neutron stars by the LIGO and Virgo observatories have marked the beginning of an exciting new era in our observations of the universe. Researchers are working to expand and scientifically exploit this novel window onto the universe. This requires an entirely new generation of gravitational wave (GW) observatories. In space, the European Space Agency’s Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission is scheduled for launch in the 2030s to open the long-wavelength GW band. Building on the LISA Pathfinder mission, LISA is based on laser interferometry between free flying test masses inside three drag-free spacecraft. At KU Leuven we coordinate the Belgian contributions to the LISA mission development, from instrumentation to the data-analysis architecture.

A core team for preparing the scientific observations of the LISA mission is currently being installed at KU Leuven. As our new research expert, you will be closely involved with the preparation of the LISA simulator, which will be the principal solution for testing LISA data reduction pipelines and for the end-to-end validation of the LISA mission.
Your role will be an essential part of the new Gravitational Wave Initiative of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and of the Science, Engineering and Technology Group at KU Leuven, which brings together staff members and researchers from different research divisions around gravitational wave physics and engineering. The overarching goal of this Initiative is to strengthen KU Leuven contributions to two international flagship missions in the field of gravitational waves: the Einstein Telescope underground and LISA in space.

Research divisions at the Department of Physics and Astronomy heavily involved in this Initiative include the Institute of Astronomy, the Institute for Theoretical Physics, and the Laboratory for Semiconductor Physics, each of which are young and vibrant research groups comprising several dozens of scientists, engineers, and administrative staff.

– You will bring and develop expertise in the field of gravitational wave source simulation, population synthesis, and instrument simulation for LISA.
– You will develop a strategy and solution architecture that will integrate the individual LISA simulator pieces. You will collect and analyse requirements from all relevant stakeholders. You will coordinate and help execute technical activities for the LISA simulator, in collaboration with the KU Leuven, national, and international LISA teams.
– You will build up an international network of domain experts, who can contribute technical and practical simulator experience for instrumentation and (populations of) GW science targets.
– You will be encouraged to set up your own research activities in GW data analysis, that will scientifically exploit the datasets of the upcoming GW observatories. Ideally, this work will complement your LISA simulator work.
– You will actively search for funding opportunities and international collaborations to boost the research output of the GW team at KU Leuven.
– You will aim for excellence in your research and technology developments, publish in outstanding journals, and present your work at the main conferences in your field.

– PhD degree in physics, astronomy, engineering, or a related field
– Experience in (astro)physical-instrumentation design and/or simulation
– Excellent software development skills (Python and/or C++), experience in collaborative coding projects (e.g., for data reduction pipelines, numerical simulation)
– Experience in gravitational wave research, from the scientific and/or from the instrumentation side
– Self-organized, ability to work independently as well as part of a team
– Commitment to personal development and updating of knowledge and skills, both for themselves and for those they may supervise
– Excellent communication skills with the ability to interact fluently with colleagues across international, multicultural consortia

We offer a full-time position with a contract of indefinite duration, as a Research Expert within the Research Management (Onderzoekskader) staff category, with all the related benefits. The salary scale will be determined by your seniority and relevant experience, in negotiation with the HR department at KU Leuven. We offer a stimulating, diverse and dynamic work environment, where research is driven by a young and strong community of PhD students, postdocs, and professors. More broadly, at KU Leuven you will enjoy the cultural richness and diversity of a large and prestigious institution located in a beautiful historical city in the centre of Belgium and Europe

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Thomas Hertog, tel.: +32 16 32 72 46, mail: thomas.hertog[AT]kuleuven.be or Dr. Jonathan Menu, tel.: +32 16 32 07 94, mail: jonathan.menu[AT]kuleuven.be.