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PhD Position in Noble Gas Cosmochemistry

The Isotope Geochemistry Group of the Institute for Geochemistry and Petrology at the Department of Earth Sciences is offerering a PhD Position in Noble Gas Cosmochemistry.

The PhD project includes cosmochemical investigations to evaluate the origin, distribution and composition of the volatile elements in the solar system. The work will focus on noble gases and their carriers in various extraterrestrial materials. Noble gases are very helpful to disentangle processes in the early solar system.

Project background

Samples to be analysed will include the various constituents of meteorites but would be complemented with other extraterrestrial material as available. The studies will mainly utilise noble gas mass spectrometry and will also involve methods to spatially resolve noble gas components in their carriers. Complementary analytical methods will be applied as required to better characterise potential carrier materials. Specifically, this project aims to (i) unravel how and which noble gases were incorporated into matrix, chondrules and their rims early in the solar system by analysing separates of e.g. enstatite chondrite materials, (ii) examine the organic matter extracted from particular meteorites with affinities to material from asteroids Ryugu and Bennu, the current targets of sample return missions of JAXA and NASA, (iii) search for evidence in the noble gases for the early solar system dichotomy that has been suggested based on various other isotope observations, or (iv) determine the Ne isotopic composition of interstellar neutral gas.

Job description

This is a four-year doctoral research position initially funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation to perform cutting edge research. It will mainly consist of laboratory work at ETH Zurich (downtown campus) and at collaborating laboratories. The research is expected to result in publications in major scientific journals of the field and presentations at research conferences. The development, set up or application of new instrumental methods or development of data processing procedures, will be part of the tasks. Small potential contributions to scientific collaborations, laboratory maintenance, supervision of undergraduates or teaching are expected.

Your profile

We seek a team-oriented communicative individual with an interest in planetary science and a grasp for experimental laboratory work. A Masters or comparable degree in a subject related to the PhD project, e.g., Earth Sciences, Mineralogy, Astronomy, Physics, or Chemistry with a very good grade is required, at the latest at the start of the PhD position. Good communication and writing skills including proficiency in English, and a flexible, reliable, and accurate working style are essential. Experience in analytical research, particularly in mass spectrometry and/or isotope geochemistry, will be advantageous.

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

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We look forward to receiving your online application including the following:

  • Your CV, including a list of publications if available
  • Transcripts and diplomas
  • A brief letter of motivation, outlining your interest in and suitability for the position, relevant experiences, as well as your earliest and preferred start date
  • The names and contact information of two to four references

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. The selection process starts on March 8th, 2021 and will continue until the position is filled. The position will be available immediately after selection (negotiable).

We currently have two open PhD positions in cosmochemistry. Please indicate in your application if you are also interested in our other position PhD position: Geochemical and isotopic investigations of interplanetary dust particles and micrometeorites.

Further information about the group can be found at For further questions on details of the position please contact Dr. H. Busemann (; no applications).

Categories: Archive of previous job ads (do not apply)

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