FCAD Education/Research Fellow for AY 2020/21 to AY 2023/24

to appear in the AAS Job Register 1 October 2019

The Five College Astronomy Department (FCAD) is a partnership that combines the talent and resources of a prestigious R1 state university astronomy department and small departments from four high-caliber liberal arts colleges. A centerpiece of the collaboration is our commitment to excellent undergraduate educational opportunities, including a shared curriculum, opportunities for student research with faculty from all schools, and an Educational/Research Initiative that supports a postdoctoral Education/Research Fellow and provides for observing time and student travel to a world-class observatory for an observing capstone course.

We are searching for a Fellow during Fall 2019 to start in Fall 2020 for a three year position. This Fellow will be hosted by Amherst College, joining Assistant Professor Kate Follette in their Department of Physics and Astronomy. The Fellow will also be member of the FCAD. The annual salary rate for 2020/21 is $58,000.

EDUCATION: The Fellow is expected to teach one course to astronomy majors each semester and may choose to supervise one or more students in research projects during the summer or academic year. Classes will be taught at Amherst College and are open to qualified students from all FCAD schools.

  • Fall Class:  AST 337: Observational Techniques An introduction to the techniques of observational astronomy, with emphasis on optical and infrared observations. Students will use the Python computing language to reduce real astronomical data. Topics covered include: astronomical software; observation planning; coordinate and time systems; telescope design and optics; instrumentation and techniques for imaging and photometry; astronomical detectors; digital image processing tools and techniques; and statistical techniques for making astronomical measurements. This course is a prerequisite for the AST 341 Observational Techniques II course. The webpage for the Fall 2018 version of the course is here, and a sample syllabus is here.
  • Spring Class: AST 341 Observational Techniques II: This course is well-established, but will be modified by the Fellow to cover a scientific topic aligned with the Fellow's own research, such as galaxy properties, molecular clouds, HII regions, circumstellar disks, exoplanets, etc. The course begins with an observing run on a national observing facility in January before the spring term starts to investigate a science topic selected in advance by the Fellow. During the semester, students will work in small teams, writing research proposals to work on subsets of the class data, and reducing and analyzing it during weekly seminars through the semester. Scientific results will be presented in a poster session to the full Five College Astronomy Department at the end of the semester and may result in co-authorship on a published paper. A previous syllabus of AST 341 is here.

RESEARCH: The Fellow is expected to have a vibrant research program that has synergy with other research in the Five College Astronomy Department. We provide a modest research budget. The Fellow will have two offices, one in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the host institution, Amherst College, and the other in the Astronomy Department at the University of Massachusetts. Applicants will have the opportunity to participate in science projects with the Large Millimeter Telescope in Mexico

Candidates must hold a Ph.D. in astronomy. Submit application at INTERFOLIO LINK HERE with (1) a cover letter; (2) a curriculum vitae; (3) a statement of research goals and proposal for a research project that would be conducted during your time in the FCAD; (4) a statement of educational goals and teaching experience, including an indication of what you would offer to the two planned courses in observational astronomy; and (5) three confidential letters of recommendation. Review of applications will begin December 1, 2019.

Amherst College is an equal opportunity employer and encourages women, persons of color, and persons with disabilities to apply. The College is committed to enriching its educational experience through the diversity of its faculty, administration, and staff.