Opening for APOD-supporting Graduate Student

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RJN
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Opening for APOD-supporting Graduate Student

Post by RJN » Tue Jan 21, 2020 12:49 am

An opening for a new Ph D.-seeking graduate student in astrophysics is expected this Fall at Michigan Technological University. This is an unusual position as the student is expected to have a significant interest in developing skills both in research astrophysics, as relevant to my research interests, and outreach astronomy as relevant to the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). My current research interests include gravitational lensing, gamma-ray bursts, and relativistic illumination fronts. A (somewhat outdated) account of my approach to research can be found here: http://www.phy.mtu.edu/nemiroff/NotableIdeas.html . The likely future ability of applicants to pass MTU's Ph D. Physics Qualifying Exams will be considered.

The student will be expected to spend part of their time supporting APOD -- much like a typical teaching assistant (TA) spends part of their time grading. Duties will include answering questions across astronomy that are sent in to APOD, investigating ownership of images of interest to APOD, helping to detect fakery in images submitted to APOD, and writing practice for APOD's audience. Submission of a writing sample is encouraged. Note, though, that I am more interested in a demonstrated passion for communicating astronomy accurately and succinctly than in proper grammar and spelling.

APOD has a total daily viewership measured in millions, is translated by volunteers daily into about 20 world languages, and is mirrored on most major social media platforms.

Do you know someone might be a good fit to this position? If so, then please email them this link.

This position is supported, in part, by a grant from NASA to Michigan Tech. Interested perspective students are requested to email me at nemiroff @at@ mtu .dot. edu.

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geckzilla
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Re: Opening for APOD-supporting Graduate Student

Post by geckzilla » Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:36 am

Not related to the opening, but someone had a tangent question regarding relativistic illumination: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=40217
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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RJN
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Re: Opening for APOD-supporting Graduate Student

Post by RJN » Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:52 pm

Here is a link to a description of some former graduate students: http://www.phy.mtu.edu/nemiroff/FormerPhDStudents.html .

More recently than described in that link from 2011, graduate students that have worked with me include Amir Shahmoradi (currently Asst. Prof at UT Arlington), Teresa Wilson (currently employed at the US Naval Observatory), and Matipon Tangmatitham (currently collaborating in astronomy outreach with the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand). 

Gaining employment in astrophysics academia is very competitive and many gaining astrophysics PhDs end up outside of a university environment. However, it is true that several graduate students who have worked with me have landed academic jobs, and that none are going hungry. That said, one idea of this position is to create skills not only for a job in academia, but also in science communication.

- RJN