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A PhD studentship in Supernova Astrophysics and Cosmology

at the Department of Physics, Stockholm University.
Reference number SU 402 33-0211-12
Deadline for applications: 2013-02-28

Subject description

Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) have been used with remarkable success for measuring cosmological distances and lead to the discovery of the accelerated expansion of the Universe (rewarded with the 2011 Nobel prize in Physics). The discovery has dramatically changed our view of Nature and the origin of the acceleration is today one of the most important problems in physics. SNe Ia distances continue to serve as a key observational tool for addressing this issue. However, uncertainties, mainly astrophysical in origin, prevent us to discern between the alternatives for the acceleration: Is it Einstein's Cosmological Constant, or are we witnessing the discovery of a completely new phenomenon? We have ongoing research programs to address these issues with the aim to improve our understanding of the universal composition.

Project description

The Stockholm group is active in pursuing several supernova observational programs with data collected in UV, optical and near-IR wavelengths at the Hubble Space Telescope, ESO’s VLT and the NOT at the Canary Islands. Moreover, we have recently joined the iPTF collaboration that scans the sky regularly to discover new near-by SNe, short after explosion. The data can for example be used to study the wavelength dependence of the dimming of light due to dust in the line of sight, which is one of the main limitations of supernova cosmology. Furthermore, we hope to find gravitationally lensed supernovae with our survey of massive galaxy clusters, which may be ideal for spectroscopic studies of supernovae the highest redshifts.

The main task of the successful applicant will be the analysis of supernova data.

The supernova group at the Physics Department is a part of the Oskar Klein Centre, an “excellence center” financed by the Swedish National Science Foundation, with strong ties to the supernova astrophysics group at the Astronomy Department.

The Physics Department is situated in the AlbaNova University Center and has around 180 employees, 250 undergraduate students and 80 Ph.D. students.

For more information on the Department of Physics please see


To be accepted as a PhD student in physics one should have studied at least four years at a University and have a BSc in Physics. These studies must include advanced courses in physics during one year and an advanced degree project (a detailed description of a project in progress may suffice).

We seek a self-motivated candidate with good analytical abilities and skills in English. Furthermore, the successful applicant should be willing to travel to meetings with collaborators outside of Sweden.

Terms of employment

The 4-year PhD program includes at least 3 years of research and at most one year of course work. The position may be extended up to 1 year if (up to 20%) teaching assistance or administration is included in the contract. For the first part of the PhD education the student receives a study grant ("utbildningsbidrag") and towards the end of the education the student acquires a full PhD position ("doktorandanställning").


Applications should include a letter of intent describing your motivation for applying, a CV including information on previous education, a copy of the master thesis (or "examensarbete"), other documents supporting the applicants competence and suitability for the position, and address, phone number and e-mail of two reference persons. The application can be written in English or Swedish. Evaluations will be based on results on University courses, quality of master's thesis (or "examensarbete"), references, interviews and the letter of intent.

For further information, please contact: Rahman Amanullah or Ariel Goobar,

Union representatives are Anqi Lindblom-Ahlm (SACO), Lisbeth Häggberg (Fackförbundet ST), telephone +46 (0)8-16 2000 (switchboard), and Gunnar Stenberg (SEKO), telephone +46 (0)70-316 43 41 and PhD student representative

The application should be labelled with the reference number SU402 33-0211-12, and should be received no later than 2013-02-28:
Email your application to Gorica Nikolic (subject SU 402 33-0211-12)