Postdoctoral Position in Mathematical Plasma Astrophysics
Catholic University of Leuven Center for Mathematical Plasma Astrophysics

The Center for mathematical Plasma Astrophysics (CmPA) at KU Leuven and the COOLFluiD team are looking for a qualified individual for continuing the development of a data-driven novel solar coronal models under a project funded by the US Air Force. The models to be developed start from a fast steady-state single-fluid MHD model, which will be made time accurate as a first step and then extended to two-fluid (ions, electrons) and three-fluid (ions, electrons, neutrals), so that the chromospheric physics can be taken into account as well. The work place is Leuven, a historic university town (our university is one of the oldest in Europe, founded in 1425) located just 20 minutes from the center of Brussels and 15 minutes from Brussels international airport, making it easily reachable for international travelers. Leuven is an international city located in the Flemish (Dutch speaking) part of Belgium, where English is spoken routinely in all places (from University and public offices to shops and entertainment venues). The distance from Brussel and from other French speaking parts of the country is so small that it is perfectly possible to commute. Our division, the Center for mathematical Plasma Astrophysics (CmPA,, is a leading center in the study of space science. Our team is formed of four professors (plus one active emeritus) and about 40 experts, scientists, postdocs and students working on different aspects of simulation and data analysis applied to solar and space science, astrophysics and other plasma processes (nuclear fusion energy, industrial, space propulsion).


All models will be implemented within the massively parallel Finite Volume plasma solver in COOLFluiD, ( open source platform for multi-physics simulations entirely written in C++.  The COOLFluiD plasma solver alreadyfeatures single-MHD and two-fluid models for both 2D and 3D simulations, is fully implicit and also includes novel mesh r-adaptive algorithms which rely on the solution of a pseudo-elastic system to move the grid according to plasma/flow field features. The parallelization is based on MPI but some models are also GPU-enabled (CUDA-based).

The targeted time-accurate MHD model, which relies on a fast Poisson solver for thePotential Field Solar Surface (PFSS) to determine the initial magneticfield,  will enable self-consistent data-driven MHD modelling of solar eruptions, starting from real magnetogram data as a photospheric boundary condition for the PFSS and will be coupled to EUHFORIA, our heliospheric wind and flux-rope CME evolution model.

The subsequent extension to a multi-fluid formulation (two- and three-fluids), will enable to include the lower layers in the solar atmosphere and thus the effect of partial ionization (self-consistently and not just considering additional heating due to ambipolar diffusion), thermodynamic non-equilibrium and non-LTE radiation.


The ideal candidate, who will join the interdisciplinary COOLFluiD team currently including 10 young/senior researchers (between CmPA and the Von Karman Institute), within one of the strongest departments in astrophysical plasma modeling in Europe (2 ERC grants at the moment and PI of two H2020 consortia), must have the following expertise:

  • a background in computational modeling of magnetized plasmas;
  • solid programming skills with, in particular, experience with Python and C/C++;
  • familiarity with pre- and post-processing tools such as Gmsh for mesh generation and Paraview or Tecplot for visualization is highly desirable;
  • experience with Finite Volume algorithms and/or parallel computing (MPI and/or CUDA) are considered additional assets.


  • Starting: Immediately or upon availability ofthe selected candidate.
  • Duration:The duration of PostDoc at KU Leuven is 2 years, possibly extendable.
  • Salary: the standard salary for PostDocs atKULeuven is amongst the highest in Europe.
  • Teaching experience: There will be opportunities for teaching experiences, lecturing, supervision of student projects, guiding the candidate to develop an academic curriculum. Tutoring of exercise classes is standard for postdocs in Leuven.
  • Publication: We will focus on developing open source software and peer reviewed papers.

For more information of the conditions of employment of a PostDoc at KU Leuven, please go to:


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You can apply for this job no later than June 15, 2020 via the
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  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: June 15, 2020
  • Tags: Wiskunde

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