Postdoctoral Researcher in Neutron Star Astrophysics

University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science


Postdoctoral researcher in neutron star astrophysics

Publication date 9 January 2020

Closing date 28 February 2020

Level of education PhD

Hours 38 hours per week

Salary indication €2,709 to €4,274 gross per month

Vacancy number 20-007

Are you interested in understanding the nature of the densest nuclear matter in the Universe? Or in using relativity to map the surfaces of neutron stars? We welcome applications for a 3-year postdoctoral position to work on neutron star astrophysics with Prof. Anna Watts and her group at the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The successful applicant will join the ERC Consolidator Grant funded project AEONS (Advancing the Equation of state Of Neutron Stars).

NASA’s NICER X-ray telescope has recently delivered its first measurements of neutron star mass and radius – key probes of the dense matter Equation of State (EOS) – using the new technique of Pulse Profile Modeling (PPM). PPM combines astrophysical modeling, relativistic ray-tracing, and Bayesian inference using high performance computers to deliver not only mass and radius but also a map of the hot emitting regions on the stellar surface. Our group played a major role in this effort, and the AEONS team will continue this work, analyzing new NICER data and carrying out simulations to address the complexities that we have encountered. AEONS also looks ahead to the next generation of large-area X-ray timing telescopes. Missions such as eXTP and STROBE-X are targeting accreting neutron stars for PPM – but these pose challenges such as variability, surface pattern uncertainty, and the need to consider X-ray polarimetry data. AEONS will tackle these issues, and study how to embed PPM in a multi-messenger EOS inference framework with radio and gravitational wave constraints. If you have a background in electromagnetic / gravitational wave neutron star astrophysics, dense matter physics, astrostatistics or computational astrophysics we encourage you to apply.

What are you going to do?

You will join the vibrant high energy astrophysics group at API, and can expect to collaborate with our colleagues in the Gravitation and Astroparticle Physics (GRAPPA) Institute. Two postdoctoral researchers will eventually be hired within the AEONS team, with broad goals of quantifying the robustness of PPM and embedding PPM in the wider multi-messenger and nuclear physics context. There is flexibility in how this works in practice, and applicants with interests in either or both areas are welcome. You will work closely with the PhD students on the team, and will have the opportunity to supervise Bachelor and Masters student research projects. You will also be encouraged to pursue your own research lines (please highlight any synergies of existing projects with AEONS in your application).

What do we require?

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain before the start date) a PhD in astrophysics, and have a track record that is relevant to the goals of the AEONS project.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week, preferably starting September 2020 (negotiable) , for the duration of 36 months.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,709 to €4,274 (scale 10) gross per month, based on full-time (38 hours a week), exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favorable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants.  The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Then find out more about working at the Faculty of Science.


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

  • Prof. Anna Watts 

About the Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 6,500, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving application by 28 February 2020. You can apply online by using the link below.

Applications should include:

  • a single pdf containing a cover letter and CV, including a list of publications;
  • a brief statement of your research experience, skills and goals. Please highlight anything that is particularly relevant to the AEONS project area;
  • the names and email addresses of three people who can be contacted for letters of reference in the event that your application is shortlisted.


No agencies please

Apply now

In your application, please refer to


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