Postdoctoral position in Molecular Astrophysics

(text from AAS job register with additional details at the bottom)


AAS Jobs register No. 27091


Position/Title: Postdoctoral position in Molecular Astrophysics

Institution: The Johns Hopkins University




The closing date for receipt of applications: 01/07/2011


Job Description:

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral position in molecular astrophysics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University ( The successful applicant will work with Prof. David Neufeld on the analysis and interpretation of data obtained in Guaranteed Time and Open Time programs of the Herschel Space Observatory.


The starting date for this position is flexible, but could be as early as spring or as late as fall 2011. The appointment would be renewed annually, and is intended to extend for two or three years.


Applications submitted electronically through by Jan 7, 2011 will be given full consideration. Applicants should provide CV, publication list, statement of research interests and arrange for three letters of recommendation. JHU is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer, and welcomes applications from women and members of underrepresented groups.


Please direct e-mail inquiries to David Neufeld (


Included Benefits:

The successful candidate will officially have the rank of assistant research scientist, a position at JHU that carries full benefits, including health insurance.


Additional details:


The successful candidate will work primarily on one or more of those observational programs of the Herschel Space Observatory listed below.  Abstracts for the various Key Programs referred to below can be viewed here, and some recent results from these programs appear in an A&A special issue devoted to first results from Herschel/HIFI. The candidate could choose which topics to emphasize, based upon his or her interests and experience.


PRISMAS GTKP (Guaranteed time Key Program)


Here, our effort at JHU is centered on the chemistry of oxygen and halogen-bearing molecules in diffuse foreground clouds along sight-lines to strong continuum sources.  Molecules targeted in this program include H2O, HF, OH+, H2O+, H3O+, and HCl+.  These will be used to probe diffuse clouds of small column density and H2 fraction, to determine the cosmic ray ionization rate, and the interstellar UV radiation field.  The observations also test models for the chemistry of oxygen- chlorine- and fluorine-bearing molecules in the ISM.


A closely-related OT1 (Open time Cycle 1) proposal (PI, Neufeld) to follow up PRISMAS results has been recently approved.  The proposal text appears here.




The JHU effort is focused on the mystery of water vapor in carbon-rich AGB stars.  Recent Herschel data argue strongly against our original suggestion that such water originates from vaporization of a Kuiper belt analog (see arXiv:1012.3456 and arXiv:1012.1854)


A closely-related OT1 (Open time Cycle 1) proposal (PI, Neufeld) to follow up our HIFISTARS results has been recently approved. The proposal text appears here.




Our effort centers on the Orion Small Maps subprogram.  Here, we will analyse and interpret HIFI spectral line maps of roughly a dozen water vapor transitions of varying excitation in 2 x 2 arcmin maps around Orion-KL.  The goal is to elucidate the water abundances in various emission components within this complex region (the hot core, the plateau, the shocked gas traced by H2 vibrational emissions, etc)




JHU is involved in the outflows subprogram of WISH, which aims to study water in protostellar outflows.  We are responsible for analysing HIFI and PACS maps of the NGC 2071 outflow region.


A closely-related OT1 (Open time Cycle 1) proposal (PI, Brunella Nisini) to follow up WISH results on outflows has been recently approved.




JHU is involved in the shocks subprogram of WADI, which aims to study the warm and dense ISM.  We are responsible for analysing HIFI and PACS maps of the W28, W44, and 3C391 supernova remnants.




We are also involved in two Open Time Key Programs: the HOPS (Herschel Orion Protostar survey, PI, Tom Megeath), and the Herschel Oxygen project (PI, Paul Goldsmith).