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Postdoc Gravitational Dark Matter Detection
Cosmology Group in Houston, Texas
Date Posted 05/06/2021
Admin-Other Administrative Positions
Employment Type
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position ID:Rice University -Cosmology Group -COSMOPOSTDOC [#18547]
Position Title: 
Position Type:Postdoctoral
Position Location:Houston, Texas, Texas 77005, United States
Subject Areas: Physics / Astroparticle Physics , Cosmology , Dark Matter , HEP-Experiment (hep-ex) , HEP-Phenomenology (hep-ph) , Particle Astrophysics , Quantum Science
Appl Deadline: (posted 2021/04/30, listed until 2021/10/29)
Position Description:  Apply    
The Cosmology group at Rice University is seeking a postdoctoral researcher as part of the Windchime project to gravitationally detect dark matter using advances in quantum physics. The successful candidate is responsible for the phenomenological studies of the Windchime detector for its sensitivity to various dark matter models.

The Cosmology group at Rice University consists of three faculty: Prof Christopher Tunnell is a computational physicist who leads the experimental efforts, such as the XENON and DARWIN groups at Rice, while also having projects exploring the interface between physics, data analysis, and machine learning. Prof Andrew Long is a astroparticle theorist who is an expert in heavy dark matter models. Prof Mustafa Amin is a theorist specialized in solitons and nonlinear dynamics of cosmological fields like axions. The successful candidate will be supervised by the three faculty according to the particular project. Formally, the position is located in the Astroparticle group of Prof. Tunnell (http://astroparticle.rice.edu ), where the diversity of the group is viewed as a strength.

The Windchime Collaboration consists of Rice University, Purdue University, Fermilab, Brookhaven National Laboratory, NIST, and the University of Maryland. As part of the Windchime Collaboration, we have identified an opportunity for using quantum optomechanical sensors to test various dark matter models, such as Planck scale [arXiv:1903.00492] or sub-meV [arXiv:1908.04797]. More information is available as part of a recent workshop [https://indico.fnal.gov/event/21499/ ]. For heavy dark matter, the central idea is that dark matter would produce a detectable impulse in a 3D matrix of accelerometers. This can be used to probe a host of candidate models, including WIMPzillas, asymmetric dark nuggets, dark quark nuggets, and dark blobs. For ultralight dark matter, we search for coherent excitations in the array.

We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher to work with both Prof Tunnell and Prof Long to perform phenomenological studies of which dark matter models the proposed experimental setup is sensitive to, while also optimizing the detector design based on experimental inputs and improvements to data analysis. This consists of understanding and modeling advancements from our funded experimental colleagues such that we can optimize the physics sensitivity. Additionally, there are many opportunities to refine the detector models and determine how one would analyze such a novel detector, for example by applying new advancements in machine learning related to track finding in these sensor arrays.

You can apply here through AJO, but the main portal for applying is at this Interfolio link https://apply.interfolio.com/87121 . If applying not through Interfolio, please arrange 2 references to be sent. In the Cover Letter, please explain how you might fit into this role (highly recommended for context). Please attach CV.

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