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2 PhD positions in the long-term evolution of Mars constrained by Mars InSight Lander results

The Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zurich and the Institute of Physics at the University of Bern each have an opening for a PhD position as part of a joint project. The positions are fully funded for three years. The salary is competitive and in accordance with Swiss National Science Foundation standards.

The goal of this project is to obtain a systematic understanding of how the current state of Mars has arisen as a result of 4.5 billion years of evolution from an early post-accretion phase that included a giant impact forming the crustal dichotomy. The project is based on numerical modelling constrained by observations, including expected new observations by the Mars InSight Lander.

One PhD project will be carried out in the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics group led by Prof. Paul Tackley, a diverse group of ~20 scientists working on a range of problems related to crust, lithosphere and mantle dynamics on the Earth, planets and moons. The working language is English. This goal of this subproject to study the evolution from the post-impact structure to the present day by running a large number of 3-D simulations of Mars’ thermo-chemical evolution and using machine learning to compare results with observations.

The other PhD project will be carried out in the Theoretical Astrophysics and Planetary Science group at the University of Bern (a member of the Center for Space and Habitability and the Swiss national framework PlanetS), and will be supervised by PD Dr. Martin Jutzi. This subproject focusses on impact simulations using a smoothed-particle hydrodynamics approach coupled with global models of the immediate post-impact phase, which track in particular the cooling and solidification of the resulting regional magma ocean and the sinking and merging of the impactor core with Mars’ core. Both students will also collaborate with a team at the Bayerisches Geoinstitut, led by Prof. Gregor Golabek.

Requirements: Applicants must have an MSc or diploma in Earth science, Astronomy, Physics, or other relevant field such as mathematics. Experience in programming and numerical modeling is beneficial, as is knowledge of fluid dynamics and applied mathematics.

Start date: June 1st 2018 or soon thereafter.

How to apply: Send by email to Professor Paul Tackley ( or PD Dr. Martin Jutzi ( ):

(1)   A curriculum vitae and a list of publications (if applicable).
(2)   Details of your BSc and MSc, including copies of transcripts showing lists of courses with grades.
(3)   A brief statement about their research interests, motivation and skills.
(4)   Names, addresses and emails of two references that may be contacted for a recommendation letter.

Deadline: Complete applications received by April 1st, 2018, will receive full consideration. After this date, applications will be considered depending on availability.

Ph.D Student in Exoplanet Science at University of Bern, Switzerland (Groups of Kevin Heng and Christoph Mordasini)
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