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Exoplanets PhD positions in Geneva

The exoplanet team of the University of Geneva has an opening for two PhD positions to work on detection and characterization of exoplanets through high-precision radial velocity measurements. Focusing on the low-mass range of exoplanets and using the high-precision spectrographs CORALIE, HARPS, HARPS-N, ESPRESSO, and NIRPS, Geneva exoplanets team is strongly involved in blind radial-velocity surveys as well as in the follow-up of transiting candidates from NGTS, K2 and TESS photometric surveys.

One PhD project, supervised by Prof. François Bouchy, is linked to the study of the properties of transiting planets with a specific focus on warm-transiting planets orbiting low-mass red dwarfs (M-type stars). The PhD student will be involved in the radial velocity follow-up, mass and density measurement of TESS and K2 transiting candidates using HARPS and the Near-InfraRed Planet Searcher (NIRPS), a new near-infrared spectrograph which will be soon installed on the 3.6m ESO telescope. The PhD assistant will be in charge to establish the performances of NIRPS, to select and to vet transiting candidates, to schedule NIRPS observations, to model and analyze the data, and to interpret planets properties.


The second PhD project, supervised by Prof. Stéphane Udry and Prof. Damien Ségransan, is linked to the blind search for exoplanets using the radial-velocity technique with both of CORALIE and NIRPS. First, the PhD assistant will work on the improvement of the detection capacities of the historical CORALIE planet search survey by implementing latest generation of data reduction tools developed in the context of HARPS and ESPRESSO. In addition to monitoring the progresses of the ongoing survey, the candoc will search for giant planets and brown dwarfs on a subsample of active stars for which the data analysis will be fine-tuned. Finally, the candidate will participate to the operations and exploitation of the NIRPS program, in particular to the RV blind search for low-mass planets orbiting M dwarfs.

The selected applicants are expected to work on: the optimization of the data-reduction, calibration and RV-extraction from both visible and near-infrared high-resolution spectrographs; the mitigation of the stellar activity; the combination of RV data with photometric, astrometric and direct imaging measurements, including dynamical developments for the characterization of multi-planetary systems. They will be strongly involved in the science exploitation of large programs and guarantee observing time of aforementioned spectrographs and in the development of specific tools for the Data and Analysis Center for Exoplanets (DACE) for validation and combined analysis of exoplanets.

The Department of Astronomy of the University of Geneva offers a modern and vibrant work environment, with a wide range of activities including theory, numerical simulations, observations and instrumental developments in the domains of exoplanets, stellar physics, galactic dynamics, observational cosmology and high-energy astrophysics. The exoplanet team is especially well renown, with strong involvement in planet detection, the determination of the planet physical properties, the characterization of planet atmospheres, and the development of an associated world-class instrumentation. We are also co-leading the Swiss-wide National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS, dedicated to the study of the origin, evolution, and characterization of planets inside and outside our Solar System. The applicant will also have the opportunity to develop collaborations with members of PlanetS.

The applicants are required to have a Master in Astrophysics. Proficiency in Python programming, signal processing and strong interest in data sciences and applied mathematics are considered as a plus. These four-year PhD positions are founded by Swiss National Science Foundation with a gross salary around 50,000 CHF a year. The positions are available 2021 July 1st. The University is actively seeking to increase the numbers of women in physics and hence women are strongly encouraged to apply. Interested applicants should send (in a single pdf file) a curriculum vitae, academic transcripts, a motivation letter including information on skills and previous experience, names of people who can be contacted for a letter of recommendation, and the contact details to Prof. François Bouchy and Prof. Stéphane Udry, at the Astronomy Department of Geneva University, before 10th May 2021.


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