PhD Position in Theoretical Astrophysics
Uppsala University Department of Physics and Astronomy

PhD student in Theoretical Astrophysics: Winds of Cool Giant Stars and Red Supergiants

Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our mission is to pursue top-quality research and education and to interact constructively with society. Our most important assets are all the individuals whose curiosity and dedication make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting workplaces. Uppsala University has 46.000 students, 7.300 employees and a turnover of SEK 7.3 billion.

The research conducted at the Department of Physics and Astronomy encompasses a wide range of physics topics, distributed over ten divisions. The department is located in the Ångström laboratory and employs nearly 400 people, 125 of whom are doctoral students. It offers a broad physics curriculum to undergraduate and graduate students, participation in nationally and internationally leading projects for researchers, and opportunities for partnership with industry and various outreach activities.

Project description:

Evolved stars play a crucial role for the cosmic matter cycle and the origin of life. Critical chemical elements, like carbon, are produced inside luminous cool giant stars, transported to the surface by turbulent gas flows, and ejected into interstellar space by massive outflows of gas and dust. The current knowledge of stellar winds is incomplete, and does not allow us to fully understand their effects on the evolution of stars, and how they enrich their surroundings with newly produced elements and cosmic dust. Project EXWINGS, funded by the European Research Council with an ERC Advanced Grant, aims at a breakthrough in understanding the winds of cool giant and supergiant stars by developing a new type of models: global dynamical star-and-wind-in-a-box simulations, in full 3D geometry. Astronomical instruments with high spatial resolution, which give images of the stellar atmospheres where the winds originate, will allow us to test the new models.


The PhD student will work together with Susanne Höfner, Bernd Freytag, and other EXWINGS team members on producing and testing a new generation of wind models for Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) stars, comparing them to state-of-the-art observations, and deriving a new description of mass loss, based on first principles, which can be applied in stellar evolution models. Extending the new modelling approach to the warmer, more luminous red supergiant (RSG) stars, the mechanisms which drive their still enigmatic winds will be explored. More information on project EXWINGS and the stellar winds research group can be found at and

The PhD student position is a 4-year appointment, and the candidate will primarily devote the time to his/her own research studies. Extension, up to a maximum of five years, is possible by including department duties at a level of at most 20%, typically teaching.


This position requires a university degree in Astronomy or Physics at an advanced level (e.g. a MSc degree), completed by the time of employment. Furthermore, candidates should be fluent in English and have the capacity to work both independently and in a team. Applications should include a brief description of research interests and relevant experience, CV, copies of university grades, certificates and diplomas, BSc/MSc thesis (or draft thereof), and contact details for at least one reference person.

Additional qualifications:

Practical experience with numerical simulations of gas dynamics, or with observational data on AGB and RSG stars, will be considered a merit.

Rules governing PhD students are set out in the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5, §§ 1-7 and in Uppsala University's rules and guidelines

Salary: According to local agreement for PhD students.

Starting date: 01-09-2020 or as otherwise agreed.

Type of employment: Temporary position according to the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5 § 7.

Scope of employment: 100 %

For further information about the position please contact: (name + phone number + email).

Please submit your application by 1 June 2020, UFV-PA 2020/1443.

Are you considering moving to Sweden to work at Uppsala University? If so, you will find a lot of information about working and living in Sweden at You are also welcome to contact International Faculty and Staff Services at

Please do not send offers of recruitment or advertising services.

Submit your application through Uppsala University´s recruitment system.

Placement: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Type of employment: Full time , Temporary position longer than 6 months

Pay: Fixed salary

Number of positions: 1

Working hours: 100 %

Town: Uppsala

County: Uppsala län

Country: Sweden

Union representative: ST/TCO
Seko Universitetsklubben

Number of reference: UFV-PA 2020/1443

Last application date: 2020-06-01

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Physicaloxy


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